'Cheddar Man' DNA Hints First Modern Brits Had 'Dark To Black' Skin

SHOCK FIND: Oldest Brit reconstructed to show what we looked like 10000 years ago

SHOCK FIND: Oldest Brit reconstructed to show what we looked like 10000 years ago

That is, while scientists had previously thought that Europeans had pale skin tens of thousands of years ago, an analysis of Cheddar Man's DNA has proved that dark, nearly black skin was common at the time and that pale skin only came much later.

Cheddar Man's remains were initially exhumed in Gough's Cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, England in 1903.

However, it is only with recent developments in DNA analysis that scientists have been able to determine what Britain's oldest complete skeleton would have looked like in the flesh.

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.

Cheddar Man's tribe migrated to Britain at the end of the last Ice Age and his DNA has been linked to individuals discovered in modern-day Spain, Hungary and Luxembourg.

The research on the Mesolithic fossil undermines the commonly held assumption that a people's geographical origin is a determinant of skin color and physique.

The National History Museum carried out cutting-edge genetic sequencing and facial recognition technology on the 'Cheddar Man, ' the skeleton found near Gough's Cave in the Cheddar Gorge, and found that the first British settlers had dark skin, dark curly hair and possibly blue eyes.


"He is just one person, but also indicative of the population of Europe at the time", says Dr Tom Booth, an archaeologist at the museum who worked on the project.

"We think that we all know what we are and who we are - but actually the truth is that things have always changed and will always change", added Steven Clarke, who has made a film about the project.

Before the Cheddar Man's lineage, there were around nine colonies of hunters, but it is understood that they were all wiped out by harsh temperatures.

The results pointed to a Middle Eastern origin for Cheddar Man, suggesting that his ancestors would have left Africa, moved into the Middle East and later headed west into Europe, before eventually crossing the ancient land bridge called Doggerland which connected Britain to continental Europe. According to The Guardian, 10 percent of Britain's population belong to the aforementioned group.

DNA data used to rebuild his face was extracted by drilling a 2mm hole through the skull's inner ear bone.

But scientists now believe lighter skin came about much more recently. The Cheddar Man's 12,000-man fort, however, thrived in the climate.

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