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Old Posted Nov 18, 2019, 7:18 PM
eschaton eschaton is online now
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Originally Posted by Obadno View Post
Can somebody smarter than me explain how they know what the skin pigmant was?

Like I get that you can find things like hairs and reconstructed features based on the bones but how do they know how brown or not brown some 10000 year old person was?
Because we now understand the DNA related to pigmentation quite well. There are a handful of mutations which explain most of why Europeans lightened from African-level dark to "white." Cheddar Man (and all Mesolithic Western Europeans) lacked all of these, meaning they had dark brown to black skin and hair - though they did have the gene for blue eyes. As you headed eastward into Europe, skin got paler, but eyes got darker.

The later farmers who came from the Near East were paler, though still rather swarthy - more or less similar in terms of skin tone to modern Near Easterners. The earliest Indo-Europeans would have been recognizable as being "white" but they were probably more like Southern Europeans in terms of coloration.

The modern, northern European ultra-pale look with blond hair and blue eyes is something which happened very recently, as skin/hair/eye color seems to have been continually selected to be lighter and lighter in Europe even through the Middle Ages.

There actually were earlier groups of people with pale skin, blond hair, and blue eyes - like Mesolithic Scandinavians - but they appear to have died out leaving no modern descendants.
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