Britain's 'Cheddar Man' Had Dark Skin, Blue Eyes- Scientists Find

Face of first Brit revealed - UCL

Scientists say earliest Britons had dark skin

The face of "Cheddar Man", Britain's oldest almost complete skeleton at 10,000 years old, is revealed for the first time and with unprecedented accuracy by UCL and Natural History Museum researchers.

As well as the very dark skin, he also had blue eyes and dark curly hair, according to the DNA analysis conducted by researchers at University College London and the Natural History Museum in London - and, like all Europeans of the time, he was lactose intolerant.

In one of their most challenging human DNA projects to date - no British individual this old has ever had their genome sequenced - the Natural History Museum's ancient DNA lab's Professor Ian Barnes and Dr Selina Brace carried out the first ever full reading of Cheddar Man's DNA.

The results of the analysis along with a forensic reconstruction of the face of Cheddar Man were unveiled on a documentary by Channel 4 that took a look at the Natural History Museum's ancient DNA project. "Cheddar Man is special because he represents the population occupying Europe at the time", said Tom Booth, a bio-archaeologist at the museum.

The fossil of the "Briton" was unearthed from Gough's Cave in Somerset, a century ago. It is believed he is related to 1 in 10 people living across the United Kingdom today. The process is particularly fascinating since recent advances in DNA sequencing technology made it possible for the scientists to piece together specific details about what Cheddar Man looked like.

A bust of Cheddar Man, complete with shoulder-length dark hair and short facial hair, was created using 3D printing.

Face of first Brit revealed - UCL
Turns Out The First British People Were Actually Black

Scientists extracted the DNA by drilling a hole into his skull and drawing out bone powder, with subsequent findings suggesting that light-skinned Europeans evolved later than previously thought. 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. A new study into the earliest known inhabitant of the British Isles has revealed something surprising: the so-called "Cheddar Man" was, in fact, dark-skinned. The Cheddar Man is around a thousand years old at this point, dating back to the period immediately after Ice Age and a time when Britain was a very different place. "It has always changed and will change".

A previous attempt to reconstruct the face of the Cheddar Man.

The Cheddar man had actually a dark to black skin and instead of having brown eyes, he actually had blue eyes.

Questions remain, however, as to when and why Britons started to develop lighter skin.

Perhaps what's most remarkable about this Cheddar Man news is a hard truth.

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