Friday, 31 January 2014

Ole' Blue eyes.

I don't know what you imagine/ think of when you visualise a caveman. Generally I picture someone who is tall, dark and extremely hairy. Alongside this dark image, I believe I assumed that cavemen would have dark brown eyes (not sure why? maybe to match the dark hair), but recently this conceptual idea has been disproved and it has been found that some cavemen had dark skin and blue eyes.

A Spanish team began working upon a pair of skeletons found in the caves of the Cantabrian Mountains in 2006. After the skeletons had been carbon dated, it was believed that the skeletons dated back 7,000 years ago and belonged to 2 thirty-something year old men. DNA from one of the skeletons was extracted from a molar, this was possible due to the well preserved nature of the skeleton due to the cool surrounding in the cave. The skeleton's entire genome was mapped and the man was identified as a modern European living before the Neolithic revolution.

Upon analysing the genome, the man  was found to have allele traits which produced darker skin than modern Europeans have now days, and more astonishingly the man was also found to have blue eyes. Suggesting that the transition in eye colour came before the transition to paler skin tones. The genome of the neolithic man was compared to modern-day Europeans and it was found that the caveman's genome is most similar to people living in Sweden and Finland.

So rethink your image of a caveman, he may not have been particularly tall, and have brown eyes, but 2 things scientists know for sure, is that some cavemen were dark-skinned with blue eyes.

Explorer Fact: Eye colour can change. In babies with European descent their eye colour can change up to the age of 1 years old. Generally it changes from a light colour to a darker shade of green, hazel or brown, although some remain blue.

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