New Research Reveals Britain's Oldest Ancestor Had Dark Skin and Blue Eyes
Feb 08, 2018, 00:43
But the humans of the roughly 12,000-strong Cheddar Man age thrived, and their DNA now comprises roughly 10 per cent of the genetic make-up of most white people living in the UK.
By C.G. Seligman and F. G. Parsons (https://www.jstor.org/stable/2843352) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsScientists at the Natural History Museum in Britain have managed to give us greater insight into what the life of Cheddar Man might have been like.
Signs on his skull suggest he met a violent death.
Cheddar Man, thought to have died in his twenties and have had a relatively good diet, lived in Britain when it was nearly completely depopulated.
"But in fact what we think is they had a very meat and fish-rich diet, so it was quite likely they were getting their vitamin D from there".
Britain was periodically settled and then cleared during ice ages until the end of the last glacial period about 11,700 years ago, since when it has been continuously inhabited.
He also goes by "Cheddar Man".
According to scientists, the prehistoric individuals who dwelt on the island were of very dark color, their hair was curly and the eyes blue.
The findings are a dramatic departure from earlier reconstructions, which depicted the first Brit as a lighter skinned male.
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Dr Tom Booth, a postdoctoral researcher working with the Museum's human remains, stated that "Until recently, it was always assumed that humans quickly adapted to have paler skin after entering Europe about 45000 years ago..."
Today's white Britons can trace their roots back to descendants of these people, and it was initially believed that "Cheddar man" had fair hair and skin.
The research will be the feature of a Channel 4 documentary The First Brit, Secrets Of The 10,000-year-old Man.
Then, a pair of Dutch artists who are experts in palaeontological model-making, Mr Alfons Kennis and his brother, Mr Adrie Kennis, used a high-tech scanner to make a three-dimensional model of Cheddar Man's head. A group of scientists from the London Natural History Museums carried out the work of reconstructing the face.
He said: "I could never have believed that we would one day have his whole genome - the oldest British one to date!" "He reminds us that you can't make assumptions about what people looked like in the past based on what people look like in the present".
When scientific breakthrough meets cheese - cheese wins every time.
The story of the Cheddar Man's new face and how researchers at the Natural History Museum in London sequenced his genome will soon appear in a documentary, due to air on Channel 4 on February 18.
It followed scientists as they worked to deduce the skeleton's facial appearance in order to build the most accurate reconstruction yet.
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