DNA from one of Britain’s first people, Cheddar Man, shows that he was very likely to have dark brown skin and blue eyes. By sequencing the ancient DNA extracted from his skeleton, scientists were able to create skin color, eye color, and hair type. Despite his name of “Cheddar Man,” scientists also know from his DNA that he couldn’t digest milk.
Close up of the model of Cheddar Man rendered by Kennis & Kennis Reconstructions
While it’s fascinating, and perhaps surprising, to learn that some of the first people to inhabit the island that is now known as Britain had dark skin and blue eyes, this striking combination is not altogether unpredictable given what we’ve learnt about Paleolithic Europe from ancient DNA. Dark skin was actually quite common in hunter gatherers such as Cheddar Man who were living in Europe in the millennia after he was alive – and blue eyes have been around since the Ice Age.
You can learn more in the National Geographic web site at: http://bit.ly/2BJYaOv.