This is what people in Britain looked like 10000 years ago

Bulgaria The Progenitor of the British- with Curly Hair Dark Skin and Blue Eyes

A new DNA analysis shows that this ancient man's skin was dark - showing genetic traits similar to that of people from sub-Saharan Africa, according to the findings, a collaboration between the Natural History Museum, University College London, and Channel 4.

The remains have been studied for decades but it was only after genetic sequencing tools and techniques had matured that the ancient Briton's genome could be analyzed. Professor Chris Stringer, Research Leader in Human Origins at the Natural History Museum said in a statement.

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.

The team homed in on genes known to be linked to skin colour, hair colour and texture, and eye colour. For the last century, scientists have hypothesized about where he came from and what he looked like.

It was previously thought that Cheddar Man, whose 10,000-year old remains were found in 1903 in Gough's Cave at Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, would have had a lighter skin pigmentation.

Cheddar Man died about 10,000 years ago, during the time when the first settlers arrived from mainland Europe to Britain. He is believed to have lived during the Mesolithic Period (circa 7150 BC).

The DNA was unusually well preserved, enabling the scientists to sequence Cheddar Man's genome for the first time and to analyse it to establish aspects of his appearance.

SHOCK FIND: Oldest Brit reconstructed to show what we looked like 10000 years ago
DNA shows first modern Briton had dark skin, blue eyes

Mr Alfons Kennis said the DNA findings were "revolutionary".

"Cheddar Man belonged to a group of people who were mainly hunter gatherers", says Booth. Pale skin is better at absorbing UV light and helps humans avoid vitamin D deficiency in climates with less sunlight.

Cannibals in Gough's CaveDr Silvia Bello, along with the Natural History Museum's Prof Chris Stringer, has spent the last ten years analysing the bones of the earlier inhabitants of the cave which date back almost 5000 years before Cheddar Man.

Model-makers and Dutch twins Adrie and Alfons Kennis used 3D printing and a hi-tech scanner, which was originally created to be used on the International Space Station, to render the skull in full detail and recreate the Cheddar Man's face.

And as it happens, details about Cheddar Man's skin and eye color were not the only intriguing finds to result from the DNA analysis.

The research will be explored in a television documentary on Britain's Channel 4 on February 18.

"We love our labels don't we, we love putting ourselves in little pots - but you have still got what is essentially quite a small genetic pool to start with in Homo sapiens", added Dr Undertown.

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