DNA shows first modern Briton had dark skin, blue eyes

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A full face reconstruction model made from a skull of a 10,000 year old man, Britain's oldest complete skeleton is pictured during a press preview at the National History Museum in London on Tuesday. (AFP)
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Model makers Adrie (L) and Alfons Kennis pose with their full face reconstruction model, made from a skull of a 10,000 year old man, Britain's oldest complete skeleton, during a press preview at the National History Museum in London on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 07 February 2018
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DNA shows first modern Briton had dark skin, blue eyes

LONDON: The first modern Briton had dark skin and blue eyes, London scientists said on Wednesday, following groundbreaking DNA analysis of the remains of a man who lived 10,000 years ago.
Known as “Cheddar Man” after the area in southwest England where his skeleton was discovered in a cave in 1903, the ancient man has been brought to life through the first ever full DNA analysis of his remains.
In a joint project between Britain’s Natural History Museum and University College London, scientists drilled a 2mm hole into the skull and extracted bone powder for analysis.
Their findings transformed the way they had previously seen Cheddar Man, who had been portrayed as having brown eyes and light skin in an earlier model.
“It is very surprising that a Brit 10,000 years ago could have that combination of very blue eyes but really dark skin,” said the museum’s Chris Stringer, who for the past decade has analyzed the bones of people found in the cave.
The findings suggest that lighter pigmentation being a feature of populations of northern Europe is more recent than previously thought.
Cheddar Man’s tribe migrated to Britain at the end of the last Ice Age and his DNA has been linked to individuals discovered in modern-day Spain, Hungary and Luxembourg.
Selina Brace, a researcher of ancient DNA at the museum, said the cave environment Cheddar Man was found in helped preserve his remains.
“In the cave you have a really nice, cool, dry, constant environment, and that basically prevents the DNA from breaking down,” she said.
A bust of Cheddar Man, complete with shoulder-length dark hair and short facial hair, was created using 3D printing.
It took close to three months to build the model, with its makers using a high-tech scanner which had been designed for the International Space Station.
Alfons Kennis, who made the bust with his brother Adrie, said the DNA findings were “revolutionary.”
“It’s a story all about migrations throughout history,” he told Channel 4 in a documentary to be aired on February 18.
“It maybe gets rid of the idea that you have to look a certain way to be from somewhere. We are all immigrants,” he added.


Prince Harry goes solo on royal tour as pregnant Meghan rests

Updated 22 October 2018
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Prince Harry goes solo on royal tour as pregnant Meghan rests

  • The pair have already traveled to Sydney, Melbourne and the regional town of Dubbo since touching down in Australia last Monday
  • They are set to visit Fiji and Tonga after Fraser Island

FRASER ISLAND, Australia: Prince Harry greeted an Aboriginal community on the stunning World Heritage-listed Fraser Island Monday as his pregnant wife Meghan took a break from official duties during the royal couple’s Australian tour.
The pair have already traveled to Sydney, Melbourne and the regional town of Dubbo since touching down in Australia last Monday, drawing thousands of screaming fans to their events.
The visit to Fraser Island off the coast of Queensland state took on a different tone, as the Duke of Sussex was greeted with a traditional Aboriginal ceremony from the local Butchulla people on the peaceful shores of Lake McKenzie.
Harry later walked barefoot on the soft white sands of the lake, a source of drinking water for the Butchulla people, and splashed water on his face.
Fraser is the world’s largest sand island and the prince was due to unveil a plaque to dedicate the holiday site’s acres of rainforests to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project.
His visit will also touch on other environmental issues, a cause close to his father Prince Charles’ heart, when he meets with park rangers to learn more about the island’s plants and animals.
Later, he will meet with two Hervey Bay paramedics, who are being recognized for granting a dying woman’s final wish by taking her to the beach.
A photo of a paramedic beside a stretcher facing the ocean was posted on Facebook last year and went viral around the world.
The royal couple had earlier arrived in Queensland by plane before traveling to the island separately.
Harry boarded a barge, a route used by tourists to travel to the island, while the Duchess of Sussex took a different vessel and then retreated to a private residence.
Her choice of dress, a maroon number with white polka dots, sparked excitement in Queensland, as the deep brownish-red happens to also been the official color of the state.
The pair are due to visit Fiji and Tonga after Fraser Island.