As reported by The Guardian, the fossil named "Cheddar Man" was found over 100 years ago in the region of Somerset's Cheddar Gorge inside Gough's Cave. Around ten percent of people with white British ancestry are descended from this group of first settlers, and previous reconstructions of Cheddar Man have depicted him with pale skin and light hair.
That migration was followed by others, including Vikings, Gauls, Romans and Normans, many of whom had fair skin and hair, leaving about 10% of current white Britons with DNA matches to Cheddar Man and his contemporaries. Photo taken at a press briefing at the National History Museum in London on February 6 2018.
The method used to recreate Cheddar Man's face is pretty complicated and science-y, but in a nutshell it went something like this: scientists obtained some bone powder by drilling into the skull, which contained enough genetic info to allow them to reconstruct the face; 3D printing technology was then used to construct the head pictured above.
To find Cheddar Man's appearance, the team used genes that are linked to skin color, hair color and texture, and eye color. They started in Africa then headed to the Middle East, and eventually made their way into Europe before crossing the ancient land bridge called Doggerland into Britain. Notably, almost 10% of current indigenous British population descended from the same ancient population.
The first modern Briton had "dark to black" skin, new research suggests.
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Selina Brace, a researcher of ancient DNA at the museum, said the cave environment Cheddar Man was found in helped preserve his remains. Scientists, who have been studying his skeleton, say he appears to have had a healthy diet but died in his 20s, possibly through violence. Fractures that dot his skull suggest the man met his end violently.
The comments left on the tabloid's website were picked up by Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy, who stated his "Solidarity with you Mr Cheddar Man", adding he wished he had known about this when he faced racial prejudice growing up. "He reminds us that you can't make assumptions about what people looked like in the past based on what people look like in the present".
The analysis of Cheddar Man's genome - the "blueprint" for a human, contained in the nuclei of our cells - will be published in a journal, and will also feature in the upcoming Channel 4 documentary The First Brit, Secrets Of The 10,000-year-old Man.
By C.G. Seligman and F. G. Parsons (https://www.jstor.org/stable/2843352) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsScientists at the Natural History Museum in Britain have managed to give us greater insight into what the life of Cheddar Man might have been like.