Scientists Map Cheddar Man's Genome

Scientists Map Cheddar Man's Genome

The face of a 10,000-year-old British skeleton nicknamed "Cheddar Man" has been revealed after research carried out by a team of scientists at London's Natural History Museum. "We used to use leg bones or teeth as the thick bones and enamel keep DNA intact, but in the last two years we've shifted to using the petrous, or inner ear bone, which is the densest bone in the human body".

In addition to a diet made up mostly of seeds and nuts, Cheddar Man would have also eaten red deer, aurochs, and some freshwater fish.

But the humans of the roughly 12,000-strong Cheddar Man age thrived, and their DNA now comprises roughly 10 per cent of the genetic make-up of most white people living in the UK. The findings suggest lighter skin pigmentation, a common trait among modern Europeans, came later than previously thought.

The skeleton's genetic profile places him among the Mesolithic-era Europeans and describes him as a "Western Hunter-Gatherer".

According to scientists, he lived shortly after the first settlers crossed from continental Europe to Britain at the end of the last ice age and people of white British ancestry alive today are descendants of this population.

Archaeologists discovered the centuries-old fossil, known as Cheddar Man, more than 100 years ago in Gough's Cave in Somerset, U.K., The Guardian reported.

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Results show that Cheddar Man originally came from the Middle East.

Channel 4 are releasing a documentary about Cheddar Man and the reconstruction titled "First Brit: Secrets of the 10,000 Year Old Man". As the DNA was unusually well-preserved, possibly due to the cool, stable conditions in the limestone cave, the team extracted sufficient genetic information to inform the facial reconstruction, as well as other genetic characteristics.

Then, a pair of Dutch artists who are experts in palaeontological model-making, Mr Alfons Kennis and his brother, Mr Adrie Kennis, used a high-tech scanner to make a three-dimensional model of Cheddar Man's head. They then worked with researchers at University College London to analyze the DNA, and with model makers to create a reconstruction of the man's face.

As mentioned above, we now know more about the history of the famed Cheddar Man. They have established that these early humans were cannibals. "This feels like the punchline to a very long, very cruel joke about humanity's obsession with racial identity", read a piece in the Independent, which also highlighted how in post-Brexit Britain, numerous country's far-right have been criticizing Prince Harry's engagement to African American actress Meghan Markle.

The New Year ushered in a lot of "new" resolutions and goals from individuals.

Early research suggested he suffered a violent death and a large legion in his skull appeared to show he had a bone infection at the time.

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