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Close up of the model of Cheddar Man rendered by Kennis & Kennis Reconstructions

Blue Eyed, Black Skinned British Hunter Closes Race Debate

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A 10,000-year-old hunter had “dark to black” skin, a groundbreaking DNA analysis of Britain’s oldest complete skeleton has revealed.

The Cheddar Man fossil was unearthed in Gough’s Cave in Somerset over a century ago. Archaeologists determined at the time that he was one of the first settlers to have crossed Doggerland, the land bridge from continental Europe to Britain, after the glaciers began receding at the end of the last ice age. According to scientists at London’s Natural History Museum Cheddar Man was about five foot five inches tall (1.65 meters) and around 10 stone (63.5 kg) in weight, he had good teeth and died in his early 20s. It was “luck”, however, that they found “scraps of DNA in his ear” stated archaeologists at the museum this week.

Reassembled skeleton of Cheddar Man, the oldest complete skeleton found in the UK.

Reassembled skeleton of Cheddar Man, the oldest complete skeleton found in the UK. (Image: Natural History Museum )

But even having obtained a tiny dna sample “coaxing data from ancient DNA can be painstaking work” said Dr Selina Brace, who specializes in ancient DNA at the Museum and worked closely on Cheddar Man. However, using new genetic sequencing technology that wasn’t available ten years ago, the team located the genes linked to skin and hair color and texture, and eye color and discovered he had a “dark to black” skin tone and “blue eyes.”

The Skull of Cheddar Man.

The Skull of Cheddar Man. (Image: Natural History Museum )

Speaking of this remarkable discovery, the lead researcher in human origins at the Natural History Museum, Dr Professor Chris Stringer, announced to reporters this week “The combination of quite dark skin and blue eyes is something that we don’t imagine is typical, but that was the real appearance of these people, something that’s quite rare today.”

The model of Cheddar Man rendered by Kennis & Kennis Reconstructions (Image: ©Tom Barnes/Channel 4)

The model of Cheddar Man rendered by Kennis & Kennis Reconstructions (Image: ©Tom Barnes/Channel 4)

So, how did Britons get from being black to pinky-white? And, why aren’t modern Africans also white?

Scientists believe that northern European peoples became lighter-skinned over time because pale skin absorbs more sunlight. Elaborating on this phenomenon, Dr Tom Booth, a postdoctoral researcher with the Natural History Museum’s human remains collection said this week, “Until recently it was always assumed that humans quickly adapted to have paler skin after entering Europe about 45,000 years ago.” Tom continued, “Pale skin is better at absorbing UV light and helps humans avoid vitamin D deficiency in climates with less sunlight.” This suggests pale skinned people emerged with the advent of farming, at time when people were obtaining less vitamin D from oily fish.

These results provide answers to many historical mysteries. Until this discovery, it was suspected that waves of migrants might have been seeded from the same population in mainland Europe, but the latest results suggest this was not the case. According to archaeologists at the Natural History Museum , Cheddar Man has Middle Eastern origins suggesting his ancestors left Africa for the Middle East and later headed west into Europe.

Image of reconstructed faces of three early humans in profile view.

Image of reconstructed faces of three early humans in profile view. Credit: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

We now know the genes for lighter skinned European populations spread far later than originally thought, and, that the people who founded the Britons looked pretty much like the Paleolithic African hunters, from whom all humans are believed to have descended. What is probably the most interesting fact established in these findings is that people of white British ancestry alive today, are direct descendants of this black population.

Dr Yoan Dieckmann, from University College London, who took part in the project, told the Telegraph: “What may seem as a cemented truth that people who feel British should have white skin, through time is not at all something that is an immutable truth…it has always changed and will change.” At a time when race issues so often dominate our headlines, the potential ways in which a writer can conclude an article of this nature are endless, but I feel it would be too obvious, predictable and cheap to sign off with some smart one liner directed at European racists, rubbing their black origins in their white faces.

Alternatively, I will make an observation which transgresses race. It is becoming clearer that one of the most powerful and paradigm changing effects our developing technologies will have on human culture is that, one day very soon, the ancient suspicions of gurus, shamans, priests, priestesses and oracles and all the other ‘non-scientific’ leaders in history, will be proven to be accurate, in one regard. Technology, is making it very apparent that we are indeed - all one.

The story of the black Cheddar Man will be presented in a documentary, The First Brit: Secrets of the 10,000 Year Old Man, airing in the UK on Channel 4 on Sunday February 18.

Top image: Close up of the model of Cheddar Man rendered by Kennis & Kennis Reconstructions (Image: ©Tom Barnes/Channel 4)

By Ashley Cowie

Comments

This certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons. Quite frankly, what does it matter how dark this man’s skin was. This debate over shades of beige is ridiculous and headlines are meant to grab attention. The only comment which makes any sense is that of Jet, who commented on missing alleles. It is physiology which makes us human, we are all the same under the skin. No one seems upset over the blue eyes comment.

HMF

The press release and model are more than a little deceptive (which was probably the feature, not a bug).

Modern Europeans have very distinctive the pigmentation loci compared to other Eurasian populations. They are SLC24A5 and SLC45A2.

Because Cheddar Man lacked these special alleles they have claimed he has to be dark skinned. But Siberians, Han Chinese, Koreans, Dene, Inuit, Ket, Japanese, Cree, etcetera, lack both the derived variants of SLC24A5 and SLC45A2 common in Europeans but are often quite light-skinned.

He could have been dark, but it's much more probable that he was light brown like all the other Eurasians.

Well, isn’t that convenient, in an era where elites are desperately pushing an avalanche of multiculturalism on every white European country and never on any other country, most especially, Israel, they just happen to confirm that actually the original inhabitants were dark skinned, who’d have thought it eh.

Roberto Peron's picture

Closes the race debate?  Is this the same as when we are told "the science is settled" when it comes to climate change?  Sorry but the science is far from being "settled."  And "Cheddar Man" doesn't settle the race debate either!  So if this is factual then where is the DNA in modern Brits for dark skin?  Surely it would show up.  And as stated here one person does not reflect the entire culture or society.  Frankly, this man looks more akin to Aboriginal Australians or black skinned people in India than he does to Africans.  Evidece for the "Out of Australia" or "Out of Asia" theories perhaps?  This professor is stretching it broadly!  But this comes as no surprise to me at all since academia is plagued by political correctness more than it is concerned about FACTS!  And if this professor didn't play the PC game she'd never get funding for anything from any university another day in her life!  Just one more example, in my mind, of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.  Just more PC fake science!  And btw race is NOT "imaginary."  In fact, medical researchers are now tailoring some treatments and procedures to the patients RACE because such treatments/procedures do  NOT work the same for all RACES.  So if race is "imaginary" then why would they be doing that???  Next story.................

 

I believe the Romans called the Picts “dark” because of the blue dye they painted on their bodies before battle

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