Most ancient Briton yet found was black-skinned, blue-eyed and clearly laughing at enraged Daily Mail comments about him


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/02/07/most-ancient-briton-dug-up-was.html


#2

With a name like that I’d have expected a complexion akin to Donald Trump’s.


#3

I still laugh at the enraged people who wrote to Points of View 20 years ago, complaining about how the BBC has suggested that Jesus looked like someone from the Middle East.


#4

Trump’s ancestors were still evolving.


#5

… and in fact the Daily Mail comments section on their article about it contains exactly what you’d expect.

I really don’t know why I bothered to check.

Well, we all know God was an Englishman so…


#6

Here, so you don’t have to!

The Daily Mail: go for “probably an immigrant”, stay for “propaganda for the alien deception”


#7


#10

Funny how people cherry pick evidence to project ideas of racial identity upon the past. Given that my immediate association with the picts of Britain was that they were dark skinned, I’m puzzled that this new evidence should be viewed as suprising. True, my vague impression is probably based upon 19th c. pseudo-science (I have no idea what they really looked like) but clearly the notion that there could have been dark skinned inhabitants of the British Isles in historic times shouldn’t be seen as new.


#11

One thing is for sure, “Cheddar Man” didn’t speak English.even if he lived in England his whole life.


#12

I had thought that blue eyes weren’t found in homo sapiens until 7,000 years ago? They’re going to need to revise that date too.


#13

Eh, but can you actually tell skin pigmentation from DNA? I thought that was an art more than a science, as the markers didn’t have a direct correlation. Still, I don’t believe anything we consider “races” today were developed at this point. Also, did this guy have more or less of a percentage of Neanderthal DNA that most non-sub-Saharan peoples share.

Remember, we all came from Africa at one point or another. While the modern pigmentation correlates with one’s distance from the equator (ie how much sun you are getting), I am curious how that developed. Did we start off neutral and some grew darker or lighter? Or did we start out dark and get lighter, or vice versa.

Posted by my friend the other day:

“Adaption, the worst super power ever.”


#14

We started out dark and grew lighter. All humans came from equatorial Africa, and had the pigmentation appropriate for sun protection / vitamin D absorption at that level of insolation. As humans settled farther north, where insolation is much weaker, those humans evolved to be able to absorb more vitamin D from the weak sun, at the expense of the melanin that was no longer necessary to protect them from the sun.


#15

Can’t tell if just trolling, but I doubt anyone in england around that time spoke anything we’d consider “english” today…


#16

He’s named after the gorge where he was found, which is named after the village it is near to. And the village gets its name not from the cheese but from Old English, perhaps as a reference to all the caves that can be found in the gorge:

Cheddar comes from the Old English word ceodor, meaning deep dark cavity or pouch.

(ETA: the cheese is named after the village, which used the caves to age cheese in)


#17

That seems logical, but when? My guess is when we lost our body hair our skin darkened to compensate for the additional sun it was receiving.


#18

From the article:

The team homed in on genes known to be linked to skin colour, hair colour and texture, and eye colour. For skin tone, there are a handful of genetic variants linked to reduced pigmentation, including some that are very widespread in European populations today. However, Cheddar Man had “ancestral” versions of all these genes, strongly suggesting he would have had “dark to black” skin tone, but combined with blue eyes.

The article makes it sound like this individual represents an early migrant population, before paler skin tone was selected for in northern populations (or darker skin no longer gave a survival advantage). I think you’re right that there’s some guestimation involved, but it sounds like they’re using the best evidence they have at this point… Pretty interesting.


#19

That’s my point-- “Englishness” as we know it isn’t something that has existed always, and anyone who gets upset because an ancient Briton looks different than them wouldn’t be able to talk normally with Chaucer or Shakespeare either, despite their paler skin tone.


#20

It’s Thulsa Doom?


#21

Ah, now i see. Needs more “irony”-tags.
My first thought btw was “well, did they find a passport?”


#22

Less than 8,000 years ago, innit?