A sample pulled from bone dust extracted from Cheddar Man's skull provided scientists with a full genome that enabled them to reconstruct the shape of Cheddar Man's face as well as discover the colour of his skin, eyes and hair.
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.
Yet research by evolution and DNA specialists at the Natural History Museum and UCL suggests that the pigmentation associated with northern European ancestry is a more recent development.
The skeleton itself is the oldest almost complete human skeleton ever discovered in Britain, though it's been studied for over a century after being unearthed in 1903.
Just last month, researchers concluded, after having discovered human remains in Israel, that people trekked out of Africa nearly 200,000 years ago, twice as early as originally thought. "He reminds us that you can't make assumptions about what people looked like in the past based on what people look like in the present, and that the pairings of features we are used to seeing today aren't something that's fixed". "It is very surprising that a Brit 10,000 years ago could have that combination of very blue eyes but really dark skin", said Chris Stringer of Natural history Museum. It's believed that the Cheddar Man was among the earliest immigrants to the British Isles, back when there was possibly still a narrow land bridge from neighboring France. "So all of this combines together and make him just not the same as people you see around today".
Alfons Kennis, who made the bust with his brother Adrie, said the DNA findings were "revolutionary".
The twins, who have created reconstructions for museums around the world and usually create models of Neanderthals, spent three months creating Cheddar Man.
His arrival marked the start of continuous population in Britain, with previous populations having been wiped out before him.
Cheddar Man's origin and appearance garnered growing speculation among scientists because his presence in Britain came shortly after the first people in the country traversed the English Channel from mainland Europe at the end of the last ice age, according to The Guardian. And maybe it gets rid of the idea that you have to look a certain way to be from somewhere.
"It's a story all about migrations throughout history", he told Channel 4 in a documentary to be aired on February 18.