DNA Analysis Finds Britons Were Black 10,000 Years Ago
Another white discovery just in time for Black History Month.
February 07, 2018 at 8:36 pm
A stunning archaeological discovery made in Great Britain, counters the idea that the British were always white people, reported The Guardian.
A DNA analysis of Britain’s oldest known skeleton, known as the Cheddar Man, has concluded the early human had “dark to black” skin, curly hair and blue eyes, when he was living.
Originally, researchers thought the skeleton, who is an estimated 10,000 years old, was pale with straight hair. He was originally discovered in 1903 by researchers, studying Gough Cave in the southern region of the nation.
The new analysis also indicated Cheddar Man was probably from the Middle East and had African ancestors who migrated to that region before heading to Europe.
Researchers now believe genes, expressing lighter skin may have developed much later in time than previously believed.
“It really shows up that these imaginary racial categories that we have are really very modern constructions, or very recent constructions, that really are not applicable to the past at all,” said Tom Booth, an archaeologist that worked on the project.
The Natural History Museum in London conducted the new tests using bone powder produced after scientists drilled a hole into the man’s skull. From the powder, scientists extracted a full genome, which contains the full genetic makeup of an organism including DNA.
The scientists studied the genes linked to skin, hair and eye color, and discovered that the Cheddar Man possessed an early version of all the gene variants seen in white Britons today, including ones that led to reduced pigmentation, suggesting that he not only had dark skin, but also blue eyes.
While the genes for blue eyes were passed down to the present, the researchers believe that the skin of Britons became paler and paler after early Brits began spending more time indoors and eating less oily fish. Sunlight and oily fish are both good sources of vitamin D; lacking natural sources, people may have become paler, as lighter skin is known to absorb more sunlight.
The Cheddar Man was originally thought to be linked to a cannibalistic tribe that inhabited his cave 5,000 years earlier, but results ruled that out. It is now thought he, and those who lived with him, followed a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.