Genome analysis creates clear picture of prehistoric 'Cheddar Man'

A DNA study recently revealed that ancient Britons had dark skin and blue

A DNA study recently revealed that ancient Britons had dark skin and blue

Since the DNA contained in the bone powder was in oddly good nick, the scientists were able to sequence Cheddar Man's genome and draw conclusions about his appearance.

Scientists believe that populations living in Europe became lighter-skinned over time because pale skin absorbs more sunlight, which is required to produce enough vitamin D. The latest findings suggest pale skin may have emerged later, possibly when the advent of farming meant people were obtaining less vitamin D though dietary sources like oily fish.

Groundbreaking DNA research has shone new light on the early origins of Britain's early settlers, reconstructing in unprecedented detail the face of Cheddar Man, the nation's oldest near-complete skeleton.

The findings suggest that lighter pigmentation being a feature of populations of northern Europe is more recent than previously thought.

IRISH people who lived thousands of years ago likely had black skin similar to a discovery made in Britain this week, according to DNA research.

Known as Cheddar Man, after the area in southwest England where his skeleton was discovered in a cave in 1903, the ancient made had been brought to life through the first ever full DNA analysis of his remains.

The research and remodelling process was documented for Channel 4 show The First Brit: Secrets of the 10,000 Year Old Man. "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 of Natural history Museum.

Scientists believe that around 10% of white British people can be traced back to Cheddar Man's kin. "So all of this combines together and make him just not the same as people you see around today".

The densest bone in the human body is the petrous part of the temporal bones at the sides of the skull, and it was this that the team drilled into to extract a sample.

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

His ancestors had originally migrated to Europe from the Middle East.

Although previous populations had settled in Britain long before his arrival, they were wiped out before him and he marked the start of continuous habitation on the island. And maybe it gets rid of the idea that you have to look a certain way to be from somewhere.

"It's a story all about migrations throughout history", he told Channel 4 in a documentary to be aired on 18 February. "We are all immigrants", he added.

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