Cheddar Man Reveals The Face Of Ancient Britons

Cheddar Man Reveals The Face Of Ancient Britons

Scientists sequenced the DNA extracted from Britain's oldest complete skeleton, a 10,000-year-old male known as the Cheddar Man, and then reverse engineered his face.

Many dismissing the scientists claims as left-wing "propaganda" and asked "does this mean nobody can be accused of racism now". "We used to use leg bones or teeth as the thick bones and enamel keep DNA intact, but in the last two years we've shifted to using the petrous, or inner ear bone, which is the densest bone in the human body". The Daily Mail reader was hoping for any of the above when he opened today's copy, only to find the Cheddar Man staring back from page 3.

"I think we all know we live in times where we are unusually preoccupied with skin pigmentation", said Steven Clarke, director of the documentary, which will be aired on the UK's Channel 4 on February 18.

Cheddar Man was unearthed in 1903 in Gough's Cave at Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, and has been the topic of constant mystery and intrigue.

Booth said Cheddar Man's dark hair and blue eyes "subverts people's expectations" about the pairing of certain genetic traits. Human beings had lived on the island off and on for thousands of years before his time, but they disappeared during periodic ice ages.

THE face of the first modern Brit has been revealed as having "dark to black" skin and piercing blue eyes. In fact, judging from his genome, Cheddar Man was closely related to the so-called Western Hunter-Gatherers.

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Tom Booth, an archaeologist at the Natural History Museum who was involved in the project, told the Guardian, "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". They note light skin is able to take in more sunlight than darker skin.

But scientists now believe lighter skin came about much more recently.

People with pale skin likely arrived in Britain about 6,000 years ago, according to the BBC, via migration from the Middle East. Europeans and Britons of the Mesolithic Era, to which "Cheddar Man" belongs, would have had a similar genetic make-up to him. "To go beyond what the bones tell us and get a scientifically-based picture of what he actually looked like is a remarkable achievement".

This was revealed in advance of a documentary about Cheddar Man.

The Museum first worked with brothers Alfons and Adrie Kennis in 2014 when the Dutch duo created life-size models of Neanderthal and Homo sapiens males as part of the Museum's major exhibition Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story.

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