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DNA shows early Briton had dark skin

FOUND: 'Cheddar Man'

A SCIENTIFIC analysis has shown that a Briton from 10,000 years ago had dark brown skin and blue eyes.

Researchers from London's Natural History Museum extracted DNA from Cheddar Man, Britain's oldest complete skeleton, which was discovered in 1903.

University College London researchers then used the subsequent genome analysis for a facial reconstruction.

According to BBC News, it underlines the fact that the lighter skin characteristic of modern Europeans is a relatively recent phenomenon. No prehistoric Briton of this age had previously had their genome analysed.

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.

Cheddar Man's remains had been unearthed 115 years ago in Gough's Cave, located in Somerset's Cheddar Gorge.

Prof Chris Stringer, the museum's research leader in human origins, said: "I've been studying the skeleton of Cheddar Man for about 40 years. So to come face-to-face with what this guy could have looked like - and that striking combination of the hair, the face, the eye colour and that dark skin: something a few years ago we couldn't have imagined and yet that's what the scientific data show."

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