Oldest Known Briton Wasn’t Light-Skinned (Study)


bone remains of the cheddar man surrounded by flowers

A new analysis revealed that the Cheddar Man, the oldest known Briton, wasn’t fair skinned at all

Ever since the discovery of the so-called “Cheddar Man”, the oldest known Briton, scientists believed him to be light-skinned and fair-haired. However, a new DNA analysis comes to surprise scientists and everyone fascinated with the world at the time. As it seems, Cheddar Man had dark and curly hair, as well as a dark skin.

 

Who Is Cheddar Man?

 

Cheddar Man is the name scientists have given a 10,000-year-old skeleton found next to Cheddar village in Somerset, England. The discovery took place in 1903, and ever since then, people believed him to have been a light-skinned person. According to more recent research, the oldest known Briton belonged to a group of hunter-gatherer immigrants.

These likely came from continental Europe and settled in Britain soon after the last Ice Age. The fact that the white Britons of today are the descendants of this immigrant population makes this even more intriguing. This adds further reasons to be surprised by the results of a new DNA analysis.

Recently, scientists sequenced Cheddar Man’s entire genome and reconstructed his face. Thanks to this cutting-edge technology, we now know that he had blue eyes, a dark skin pigmentation, as well as dark-colored, curly hair. In a news release, researchers confessed that before this study, many of them thought this ancient Briton had a reduced skin pigmentation.

 

What are the Consequences of This Finding?

 

Tom Booth, who is an archaeologist at the Natural History Museum in London, said that this is an important discovery. According to him, it shows us that the imaginary racial categories we have are, in fact, modern constructions. Booth added that they don’t apply to the past at all. The result is also important because it shows the origins of the Stone Age man.

Apparently, the ancestors of the Stone Age man left Africa and moved to the Middle East. Then, they headed for Europe, eventually settling in Britain. Around 10% of the white Britons of today can reportedly trace their heritage back to this ancient population.

Image Source: StaticFlickr


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Allan Austin

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