9,000-year-old ‘Cheddar Man’ shares the same DNA with English teacher of history!
In Somerset, England, lies Cheddar Gorge, where Gough’s Cave can be found. It was in this cave that the remains of a man were discovered and named Cheddar Man. Dating back to the Mesolithic era, the discovery of Cheddar Man was made around the start of the twentieth century. Despite his historical significance, Cheddar Man didn’t receive much attention and was likely viewed as just another ancient artifact.
However, it wasn’t until recently that an incredible revelation was made about Cheddar Man. In a stunning turn of events, it was discovered that he had a living descendant who resided in the same region. This revelation shed new light on the life of Cheddar Man and added a new layer of complexity to his already fascinating story.
Back in 1903, an incredible discovery was made when the remains of a prehistoric man were found 20 meters (65 feet) inside Gough’s Cave. Cheddar Man was buried alone in the deep recesses of the cave, beneath layers of stalagmite and more recent materials. The dating of his remains suggests that he lived approximately 9000 years ago, during the Mesolithic period.
Despite the importance of his discovery, Cheddar Man received little attention and was regarded as a minor figure in prehistoric history. It wasn’t until 1914, over a decade later, that an essay titled “The Cheddar Man: A Skeleton of Late Paleolithic Date” was published. This essay assigned Cheddar Man to the Late Paleolithic period, which was some thousand years earlier than the Mesolithic period in which he is now believed to have lived.
The essay’s authors conducted several analyses on Cheddar Man’s skull, measuring its dimensions and comparing them to other prehistoric skull fossils. They also examined other skeletal remnants such as teeth and limb bones. Despite these early efforts to understand Cheddar Man, it seems that little research has been done on him in recent years. Nonetheless, his remarkable discovery continues to intrigue and captivate historians and archaeologists alike.
The DNA of Cheddar Man
In 1997, an astonishing discovery was made regarding Cheddar Man’s lineage. Reports indicated that a living descendant of this prehistoric figure had been found. This revelation was made possible through the analysis of DNA extracted from one of Cheddar Man’s molars. The DNA was studied at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University, where researchers compared it to the DNA of 20 individuals who hailed from families that had lived in Cheddar for multiple generations.
Through this analysis, one person was identified as a descendant of Cheddar Man. This finding was a groundbreaking development, shedding new light on the lineage and ancestry of this ancient individual. The discovery also provided insight into the lives and genealogy of individuals who have lived in the Cheddar region for thousands of years. As such, this discovery marked an important milestone in the field of archaeogenetics, allowing researchers to better understand the history and evolution of human populations.
Family of the Cheddar Man
Adrian Targett’s DNA was found to be a match with Cheddar Man’s genetic material, indicating a maternal link between the two. Cheddar Man was 42 years old at the time of his discovery, and his genetic imprint was passed down through his maternal lineage.
Targett was not the only member of his family to remain in the Somerset area, as 46 of his extended family members also chose to stay in their ancestral home. Cheddar Gorge has been a prime site for Paleolithic human remains, with numerous discoveries made in the area over the years.
One of the most well-known sets of human remains found in the region was a collection of three cups made from the skulls of two individuals and a three-year-old child. Upon re-examination, it was determined that the skulls were gathered after their owners had died naturally and that skull cup-making was a traditional craft.
However, the discovery of human bones with signs of butchery suggests that some archaic individuals in the area may have engaged in cannibalism. These findings provide a glimpse into the lives and customs of our prehistoric ancestors, shedding new light on their practices and beliefs.