Cheddar Man, first modern Briton, had dark skin and blue eyes

SHOCK FIND: Oldest Brit reconstructed to show what we looked like 10000 years ago

SHOCK FIND: Oldest Brit reconstructed to show what we looked like 10000 years ago

Professor Ian Barnes and Dr. Selina Brace from the Natural History Museum were able to extract DNA profiles for Cheddar Man's hair, eyes, and skin from the skeleton, which were then sent to a lab at University College London for genome analysis.

The Natural History Museum researchers extracted the DNA from part of the skull of Cheddar Man near the ear known as the petrous. "They had dark skin and majority had pale-coloured eyes, either blue or green, and dark brown hair".

The discovery shows that the genes for lighter skin became widespread in European populations far later than originally thought - and that skin colour was not always a proxy for geographic origin in the way it is often seen to be today.

Cannibals in Gough's CaveDr Silvia Bello, along with the Natural History Museum's Prof Chris Stringer, has spent the last ten years analysing the bones of the earlier inhabitants of the cave which date back almost 5000 years before Cheddar Man.

And now experts say analysing the 10,000-year-old remains has changed the idea of what it means to be British.

The history of 'Cheddar Man'A human male fossil skeleton, unearthed in 1903 in Gough's Cave at Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, Cheddar Man has been the topic of constant mystery and intrigue.

Described by UCL as one of the most challenging human DNA projects to date, Cheddar Man had his genome sequence analysed to establish his appearance.

"It seems that pale eyes entered Europe long before pale skin or blond hair, which didn't come along until after the arrival of farming...[Cheddar Man] 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, and that the pairings of features we are used to seeing today aren't something that's fixed", Booth continued.

In 1997, CNN reported that a man who lived in Cheddar village learned he was a direct descendant of Cheddar Man as scientists compared DNA from the two and found it to be a match.

Thanks to advanced DNA research and 3D printing technologies, we now know what one of the earliest British people looks like.

Cheddar Man would have been one of a very small population of hunter-gatherers in Britain at the time.

"It is very surprising that a Brit 10,000 years ago could have that combination of very blue eyes but really dark skin", said Chris Stringer, a researcher at the National History Museum in London.

Armed with new clues about the man's appearance and combined with digital scans of the skull, Dutch artists Alfons and Adrie Kennis performed a lifelike facial reconstruction. "We are all immigrants", he added.

Their findings, to be presented in a documentary titled "First Brit: Secrets of the 10,000 Year Old Man", indicate that lighter skin characteristics of modern Europeans is a relatively recent phenomenon.

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