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.


Priyanka Chopra, soon to be Jonas? Either way, she’s got the rock

Updated 16 August 2018
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Priyanka Chopra, soon to be Jonas? Either way, she’s got the rock

  • Nick Jonas and Chopra were first seen together at the Met Gala in May 2017
  • Jonas, who was one third of the Jonas Brothers before he went solo, has already traveled to Mumbai to meet Chopra’s family

DUBAI: Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, who reportedly got engaged to American singer Nick Jonas on her birthday last month, is sporting what appears to be a sizeable rock on her ring finger to prove it.

The photo of the sparkler was impossible not to spot in group photos posted on Instagram on Wednesday by Sophie Choudry and in close-ups with Raveena Tandon, in which the “Quantico” star has wrapped her left hand with said rock around Tandon’s shoulder rather purposefully. 

Tandon, Chopra’s friend and fellow actress, wrote: “Peecee and I getting our pouts in order!” Could they be practicing for the wedding photos?

Dressed in a saffron yellow pantsuit, Chopra attended a party at designer Manish Malhotra’s residence Tuesday night with other Bollywood stars. An engagement party in Mumbai is rumored to be in the works for this weekend, where it’s expected the couple will make an announcement. 

Jonas, who was one third of the Jonas Brothers before he went solo, has already traveled to Mumbai to meet Chopra’s family. It will be a busy wedding season, as his older brother Joe is also engaged, to Sophie Turner, who plays Sensa Stark on “Game of Thrones.”

Jonas and Chopra were first seen together at the Met Gala in May 2017. Earlier this summer, she traveled to New Jersey to attend his cousin’s wedding in New Jersey. He reportedly shut down Tiffany & Co. in London to buy the ring in July.

It seems they’re well-suited: Both Jonas and Chopra do charity work. He and his brothers started Change for the Children Foundation to raise awareness about diabetes, a condition which he has, while she is a global goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and has the Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education. 

If all of this sounds like another couple whose nuptials were recently in the headlines, that’s no surprise. Chopra is the friend of Meghan Markle, and watched her and Prince Harry tie the knot in Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel in May. 

Chopra may have even been inspired by the royal wedding: “Every once in a while there is a moment when time stands still,” she wrote on her Instagram account. “You, my friend, were the epitome of grace, love and beauty… Thank you for being the perfect picture of all things good. Seeing your union and love blessed in front of my eyes made me so happy.”