DNA Analysis Reveals First British Folks Had Dark Skin

Cesar Mills
February 9, 2018

This week, United Kingdom scientists confirmed that the first modern Briton had dark skin and blue eyes, following groundbreaking DNA analysis of the remains of a man who lived 10,000 years ago.

The oldest complete skeleton in Britain, the fact he was found in a cave - which was a cool, dry and consistent environment - helped preserve his remains.

It was initially assumed that Cheddar Man had pale skin and fair hair, but his DNA paints a different picture, strongly suggesting he had blue eyes, a very dark brown to black complexion and dark curly hair.

The twins, who have created reconstructions for museums around the world and usually create models of Neanderthals, spent three months creating Cheddar Man.

Similarly, Cheddar Man's tribe migrated to Britain at the end of the last Ice Age and shared DNA with individuals in Spain, Luxembourg and Hungary.

They would then have travelled west into Europe, before crossing the ancient land bridge called Doggerland which connected Britain to continental Europe.

Cheddar Man was discovered in 1903; his bones were covered in sediment in a cave in Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, England.

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Further examination has shown that the man was short by today's standards - about 5ft 5in - and possibly died in his early 20s. All rights reserved.How Cheddar Man met his death remains a mystery, and although a hole in his skull suggests violence, it is also possible that he was suffering from a bone infection at the time.

"It really shows up that these imaginary racial categories that we have are really very modern constructions, or very recent constructions, that really are not applicable to the past at all", Tom Booth, an archaeologist at the Natural History Museum who worked on the project, told The Guardian. "They ate a lot of fish, hunted wild boar, gathered plants and nuts", he said.

Dutch artists Alfons and Adrie Kennis, specialists in palaeontological model making, have taken this data and combined it with physical measurements from scans of the skull.

It's thought ancient humans living in northern regions developed pale skin because it absorbs more sunlight, which is needed to produce vitamin D.

Dr. Rick Schulting, an archaeology professor at Oxford University, spoke about the development, arguing that the DNA evidence establishes a very compelling link between the past and present: "It may be that we may have to rethink some of our notions of what it is to be British, what we expect a Briton to look like at this time".

Cheddar Man does not share any direct ancestry with the people who inhabited Gough's Cave almost 5,000 years earlier.

Cheddar Man - who had previously been portrayed as having brown eyes and light skin - was among the first permanent settlers to make the United Kingdom their home, and is related to around 10 percent of the modern population there.

Other reports by GizPress

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