Wednesday, February 07 2018

The genome of Cheddar Man, the reported very first Britons who lived 10,000 years ago, suggests that he had blue eyes, dark skin and dark curly hair, very much of African origin, around the Ethiopian region. People of white British ancestry alive today are descendants of this population.

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A forensic reconstruction of Cheddar Man’s head, headed by the Natural History Museum, based on the new DNA evidence and his fossilized skeleton, indicates that his skin was black, and the British white nationalists are very upset.

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The discovery shows that the genes for lighter skin became widespread in European populations far later than originally thought – and that skin color was not always a proxy for geographic origin in the way it is often seen to be today. Scientists believe that populations living in Europe became lighter-skinned over time because pale skin absorbs more sunlight, which is required to produce enough vitamin D. The latest findings suggest pale skin may have emerged later, possibly when the advent of farming meant people were obtaining less vitamin D though dietary sources like oily fish.

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