Published: Thu, February 08, 2018
Research | By Clarence Powell

DNA suggests 10000-year-old Brit had dark skin, blue eyes

DNA suggests 10000-year-old Brit had dark skin, blue eyes

This is only possible because of spectacular breakthroughs in DNA sequencing.Their results will transform both the way we visualise our 10,000 year old ancestors and our understanding of how we relate to them.

University College London professors Mark Thomas and Yoan Diekmann looked at various genetics and DNA gathered at the museum to establish the ancient skelelton's facial appearance.

"They had dark skin and majority had pale coloured eyes, either blue or green, and dark brown hair", said Dr Booth. It underlines the fact that the lighter skin characteristic of modern Europeans is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Meanwhile, many were bewitched by Cheddar Man's dashing appearance. Over the years, research has shown that he stood around five-foot-five, he was well-fed and he likely died in his early 20s.

The people who lived in Britain 300 generations ago were black, research suggests. This allowed the DNA to remain in such good condition.

Scientists working on the project said the DNA had been "unusually well-preserved" - believing the cool and stable environment of Cheddar Gorge was to thank - which helped them get enough genetic information to create the facial reconstruction.

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A further investigation by Tom Booth - an archaeologist at the Natural History Museum along with a team assigned to the project uncovered the deeper truth of Cheddar Man's lineage. Human beings had lived on the island off and on for thousands of years before his time, but they disappeared during periodic ice ages. Prof Stringer and Dr Bello have identified the remains of six individuals: three adults, two adolescents and a young child, aged approximately 3 years old - have all sustained human butchery or chewing damage.

Signs on his skull suggest he met a violent death.

Those who miss the show can see the skeleton in real life at the Natural History Museum's permanent Human Evolution gallery. He has been involved in studying material from the site ever since.

"For me, it's not just the skin colour that's interesting, it's that combination of features that make him look not like anyone that you'd see today", the museum's Ian Barnes tells New Scientist. Additionally, Cheddar Man's DNA sample reportedly provided the "highest coverage" for any genome that has been analyzed from the Middle Stone Age in Europe.

Subscribe and follow up on all round entertainment on our YouTube Channel. For the last century, scientists have hypothesized about where he came from and what he looked like.

A reconstruction of Cheddar ManTOM BARNES/CHANNEL 4Cheddar Man, the oldest complete human skeleton yet found in Britain, has yielded new secrets, Britain's Channel 4 announced today (February 7).

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