A joint study conducted by researchers at the University College London (UCL) and Natural History Museum, London has revealed that the light skin and blonde hair of people in Northern Europe are recently evolved. According to the new research, genetic analysis of Cheddar man has revealed that the great forefathers of Northern Europeans were actually dark-skinned, and they had dark-colored curly hair.
Cheddar man is touted to be the oldest human fossil ever discovered in the United Kingdom. The fossil was discovered from Cheddar village 115 years ago, and carbon dating reveals that the fossil is more than 10,000 years old. The skeleton of Cheddar man is now displayed at the London's Natural History Museum. Researchers describe the skin color of Cheddar man as 'dark to black', and it clearly indicates that the lighter skin tone of Northern Europeans was evolved far more recent than previously thought.
"The results indicate that Cheddar Man had blue eyes, dark-colored curly hair and 'dark to black' skin pigmentation. Previously, many had assumed that he had reduced skin pigmentation. The discovery suggests that the lighter pigmentation now considered to be a defining feature of northern Europe is a far more recent phenomenon," said University College London in a statement.
During the analysis, researchers were very surprised to know that the DNA of Cheddar man was very well preserved even though it was more than 10,000 years old. The well-preserved DNA allowed scientists to sequence Cheddar man's genome for the first time, thus helping them to understand more about his appearance.
Later Alfons and Adrie Kennis, two Dutch artists who are experts in palaeontology model making used sophisticated high-tech scanners to recreate a three-dimensional model of Cheddar man's head. As per reports, the recreated model features Cheddar man with dark skin, high cheekbones and dark blue eyes. The model will be unveiled on a Channel 4 documentary which is scheduled to be aired on February 18, 2018.