Britons are said to be ‘the white people’. Long in the human history, we have seen them at a place of grandeur and superiority, just because of their fair complexion. Entry of Cheddar Man has changed that perception altogether. According to a latest study, about 10% of Britons today come from the generation of brits who used to have dark skin tone. Cheddar man is one of them.
Cheddar man is actually a 10,000 years old skeleton of an early Brit. A totally preserved skeleton, it was found near a cave in Cheddar village in 1903—that is the reason why he is called Cheddarman. Ever since it has been considered a fair-skinned brit, just like today’s. but the deep study and the use of advanced techniques have presented a result totally different from the early perception.
His remains have long been under the procedure of scientific studies, revolving around his DNA and other genetic material.
Natural History Museum and University College London recreated the face of this early brit to know how he used to look. Using the DNA taken from the bones and skull, he was given a face—to our surprise, it was a Briton with a dark skin tone.
Cheddar man has dark skin, blue eyes, curly hair—which is quite unlike to the Britons today. He was a Mesolithic hunter, a man of about 5,4 feet. We do not know the exact cause of his death but he died in his 20’s. The reason behind this dark skin pigmentation is decrease of vitamin D through dietary intake. Rather they used to do farming all day under the sun which caused an increased skin pigmentation.
Prof Chris Stringer, Research Leader in Human Origins at the Natural History Museum explains;
“I first studied ‘Cheddar Man’ more than 40 years ago, but could never have believed that we would one day have his whole genome – the oldest British one to date! To go beyond what the bones tell us and get a scientifically-based picture of what he actually looked like is a remarkable (and from the results quite surprising!) achievement.”
Those who want to know more about the findings of the research should wait for an upcoming documentary named “First Brit “: Secrets of the 10,000-Year-Old Man.