World America 08 Feb 2018 First modern Briton ...

First modern Briton had dark skin, says study

AP
Published Feb 8, 2018, 2:49 am IST
Updated Feb 8, 2018, 2:49 am IST
The ancient man was brought to life through the first ever full DNA analysis of his remains.
Full facial reconstruction model of a head based on the skull of Britains oldest complete skeleton on display during a screening event of The First Brit: Secrets Of The 10,000 Year Old Man at The Natural History Museum, in London on Wednesday. (Photo: AP)
 Full facial reconstruction model of a head based on the skull of Britains oldest complete skeleton on display during a screening event of The First Brit: Secrets Of The 10,000 Year Old Man at The Natural History Museum, in London on Wednesday. (Photo: AP)

London: The first modern Briton had dark skin and blue eyes, London scientists said on Wednesday, following groundbreaking DNA analysis of the remains of a man who lived 10,000 years ago.

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

 

In a joint project between Britain’s Natural History Museum and University College London, scientists drilled a 2mm hole into the skull and extracted bone powder for analysis. Their findings transformed the way they had previously seen Cheddar Man, who had been portrayed as having brown eyes and light skin in an earlier model.

“It is very surprising that a Brit 10,000 years ago could have that combination of very blue eyes, but really dark skin,” said the museum’s Chris Stringer, who for the past decade has analysed the bones of people found in the cave.

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

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