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Ever heard of "Cheddar Man?" Here's a look at him, reconstructed
09 February 2018, 01:48 | Ross Houston
Turns Out The First British People Were Actually Black
The 10,000-year-old human remains dubbed the "Cheddar Man" - named after the area in southwest England they were found - revealed a wealth of information this week, most notably that he likely had dark skin and blue eyes.
Cheddar Man's skin color was described as "dark to black" by the scientific team which also included researchers from London's Natural History Museum, where the skeleton is on display in the Human Evolution gallery.
"The earliest Irish would have been the same as Cheddar Man and would have had darker skin than we have today", Prof Bradley said.
"They had dark skin and majority had pale coloured eyes, either blue or green, and dark brown hair".
The twins, who have created reconstructions for museums around the world and usually create models of Neanderthals, spent three months creating Cheddar Man.
Cheddar Man and his people probably left Africa and passed through the Middle East before winding up in what is now Britain.
They would then have travelled west into Europe, before crossing the ancient land bridge called Doggerland which connected Britain to continental Europe.
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Britain's oldest complete skeleton, known as Cheddar Man, was unearthed more than a century ago in Gough's Cave in Somerset. Now, 115 years after the day he was found, Cheddar Man makes the important leap from myth to reality thanks to a combination of facial reconstruction techniques and innovative DNA techniques-the DNA obtained from drilling a 2mm hole in Cheddar Man's skull was sequenced to achieve the remarkable results.
The research will be explored in a television documentary on Britain'sChannel 4 on Feb 18.
"It really shows up that these imaginary racial categories that we have are really very modern constructions, or very recent constructions, that really are not applicable to the past at all", commented Tom Booth, an archaeologist at the Natural History Museum who worked on this project. The genetic material was remarkably well preserved, which the team attributes to the fact that Cheddar Man was in a cave for so long. People of white British ancestry alive today are descendants of this population.
"It has always changed and will change", he emphasized.
The researchers working on the Irish project have compiled data from two individuals from over 6,000 years ago that provide similar results as Cheddar Man.
Initially, it was assumed that he had pale skin, but the new analysis and facial reconstruction have revealed the opposite.
"Pale skin is better at absorbing UV light and helps humans avoid vitamin D deficiency in climates with less sunlight", he said. To be able to completely reconstruct what Cheddar man looked like in so much detail from such a small amount of DNA is incredible. He was lactose intolerant.
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