First Ancient Briton: Who Is Cheddar Man And Why His ‘Dark to Black Skin’ Doesn’t Really Matter (Video)

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Humanity has more questions about our ancient history and origin than answers. But we do small steps in solving the mysteries hoping to understand better who we are, someday.

Nexter.org explains who is Cheddar Man and what the latest DNA test really tells us about Britons early history.

Meet Cheddar Man

Cheddar Man is the male fossil of the first modern Brit that was unearthed in 1903 in Gough’s Cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. Only within a century since Britain’s oldest complete skeleton was found scientist revealed how the first ancestor looked like.

cheddar-man-photo

Source: AP

It is believed his remains date to the Mesolithic period and lived in Britain when it was almost completely depopulated.

Early research suggested he suffered a violent and a large legion in his skull appeared to show he had a bone infection at the time.

He is thought to have died in his 20s and had a good diet.

According to historians, his tribe was one of the first groups of people to move back into Britain at the end of the last Ice Age.

cheddar-man-skeleton-photo

Source: AP

What did ancient Briton look like?

Researchers from London’s Natural History Museum extracted DNA that helped to reveal his appearance.

According to the scientists Stone Age Briton had dark curly hair, blue eyes, and skin that was probably dark brown or black in tone.

Prof Chris Stringer, the museum’s research leader in human origins, said: “I’ve been studying the skeleton of Cheddar Man for about 40 years”.

“So to come face-to-face with what this guy could have looked like – and that striking combination of the hair, the face, the eye colour and that dark skin: something a few years ago we couldn’t have imagined and yet that’s what the scientific data show.”

Professor Ian Barnes, research leader at the Natural History Museum, said: “It’s not just the skin colour that’s interesting, it’s that combination of features that make him look not like anyone that you’d see today.”

cheddar-man-face-photo

Source: BBC

Is it really so huge?   

Historians say that it’s not a surprise that Chaddar Man had dark skin because it was a common appearance in western Europe during this period.

Pale skin probably arrived in Britain with a migration of people from the Middle East around 6,000 years ago. This population had pale skin and brown eyes and absorbed populations like the ones Cheddar Man belonged to.

No-one’s entirely sure why pale skin evolved in these farmers, but their cereal-based diet was probably deficient in Vitamin D. This would have required agriculturalists to absorb this essential nutrient from sunlight through their skin.

“There may be other factors that are causing lower skin pigmentation over time in the last 10,000 years. But that’s the big explanation that most scientists turn to,” said Prof Thomas.

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First Ancient Briton: Who Is Cheddar Man And Why His ‘Dark to Black Skin’ Doesn’t Really Matter
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First Ancient Briton: Who Is Cheddar Man And Why His ‘Dark to Black Skin’ Doesn’t Really Matter
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Humanity has more questions about our ancient history and origin than answers. But we do small steps in solving the mysteries hoping to understand better who we are, someday. Nexter.org explains who is Cheddar Man and what the latest DNA test really tells us about Britons early history.
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