DNA shows 7000-year-old man had dark skin and light eyes

Jan 28, 2014
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Scientists working on the remains of a man who died 7000 years ago have made an interesting discovery shedding light on what the man looked like when he was living. The researchers recovered DNA from the skeletal remains of two specimens called La Brana 1 and La Brana 2. The DNA was tested in a lab from one of the specimens.

Genetic testing on a molar of La Brana 1 has shown that assumptions of what Europeans looked like thousands of years ago are off. The analysis of the DNA from the molar tooth showed that the specimen had the African version of genes that control skin pigmentation.

That discovery indicates that the specimen had dark skin when alive. Scientists had previously believed that Europeans with light skin had surfaced in the Upper Paleolithic era between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago. The genetic testing shows that the ancient specimen had dark skin despite having been on the European continent for 40,000 years.

The scientists think that light skin might not have evolved on the continent for another millennia. The 7000-year-old man is the first ancient specimen to have his genome fully sequenced. The DNA from the La Brana 2 specimen was not studied in the same way because it was degraded due to contact with moisture.

SOURCE: CBC.ca


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