NEW EVIDENCE SHOWS ALL EUROPEANS, BRITONS HAD DARK BROWN, BLACK SKIN QUITE RECENTLY
Have you ever heard of the Black Irish? Well, you had no idea and neither did I. DNA tests on a sample from a 10,000 year old skeleton have raised some dramatic questions about our understanding of race as well as early human migration. The skeleton was discovered in Gough Cave near Cheddar Gorge, England. And yes, that’s where Cheddar Cheese comes from. But this is no cheesy story. Recent analysis of the skeleton’s DNA show that these early Britons had “dark brown to black skin.” They also had blue eyes and dark curly hair. That means white skin didn’t happen until really, really recently.
CHEDDAR MAN HAD DARK SKIN AND CURLY HAIR WITH BLUE EYES LESS THAN 10,000 YEARS AGO
People now call the skeleton Cheddar Man. He was a hunter-gatherer back in the Mesolithic period, which came right before humans started doing agriculture. Humans lived in Britain during earlier periods, but then abandoned the isle. But archeologists believe that continuous human habitation in Britain started roughly from Cheddar Man’s time until, well, today. So, Cheddar Man is, essentially, English. But his genome tells us that Europeans weren’t white until just a few thousand years ago. Previously, scientists believed that it was tens of thousands of years ago when humans first migrated into and through Europe. This dramatically changes our understanding of racial traits, and how fast they can change. But especially how recently!
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NEW DOCUMENTARY WILL SHOW HOW LIFELIKE PORTRAIT OF CHEDDAR MAN CAME TO BE
The recent research was a collaboration of the Natural History Museum and the University College London. A documentary to be released soon with the title First Brit: Secrets of the 10,000 Year Old Man will show us all their findings. But one really interesting thing it will show is how recent technology in DNA sequencing was able to give us such a specific portrait of what Cheddar Man really looked like. Cheddar Man is the oldest mostly complete skeleton anyone has ever found in Britain. But scientists have been unlocking its secrets since its discovery in 1903. Yet the recently analyzed full genome is what enabled scientists to identify skin, eye and hair color. So when model-makers reconstructed Cheddar Man’s face with a 3D printer, they gave us a startling window into the past with a complete bust of Cheddar Man.
WHITE SKIN DEVELOPED FROM DIET CHANGE JUST A FEW THOUSAND YEARS AGO
And let’s be clear, Cheddar Man is an early English gentleman who looks a lot like a Paleolithic African. It wasn’t just early Britons! So if you have European blood, it’s a good bet that your modern human ancestors looked exactly the same. But we’re talking in the last 10,000 years, maybe even more recently. White skin didn’t start appearing 45,000 years ago when humans first arrived in Europe. It was when humans started doing agriculture and their diets changed in Northern latitudes. Blue eyes weren’t a caucasian trait originally. Now let’s see if that changes how anyone thinks today about race?