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Descendant Of Stone Age Skeleton Found (Cheddar Man - 9,000 Years Old)
Trussel.com/Japan Times ^ | 3-9-1997

Posted on 12/30/2005 5:03:20 PM PST by blam

The Japan Times, March 9, 1997

Descendant of Stone Age skeleton found

LONDON (Reuter) British scientists Saturday celebrated their feat of tracing a living descendant of a 9,000-year-old skeleton and establishing the world's oldest known family tree.

In an astonishing piece of detective work, they matched mitochondrial DNA material extracted from the tooth cavity of Britain's oldest complete skeleton with that of a 42-year-old history teacher, Adrian Targett. The genetic material showed without doubt that Targett is a direct descendant through his mother's line of the skeleton known as Cheddar Man, which was found in 1903 in caves in Cheddar Gorge in southwest England.

"It is extraordinary that the DNA survives at all, but we were able to extract it and sequence it," said Bryan Sykes of Oxford University's Institute of Molecular Medicine. "They would have shared a common ancestor about 10,000 years ago, so they are related."

Targett lives about a kilometer from the caves where Cheddar Man was found. Previous tests have shown that Cheddar Man suffered a violent death at the age of about 23 in 7150 B.C.

The Oxford University team spent months analyzing samples from the skeleton before taking DNA swabs from about 20 local people whose families had lived in the Cheddar area for generations.

Targett, who teaches modern history, said he took part only to make up the numbers.

"I was astonished when the scientists said I was the descendant. Appropriately enough, I am a history teacher, but I have to admit I know next to nothing about Cheddar Man. I suppose I really should try to include him in my family tree," he said.

Targett can now boast a lineage millennia older than that of Britain's royal family, which traces its heritage back to A.D. 829.

The oldest previously recorded relative was the great-great-great-great-grandfather of Confucius, who lived in China in the eighth century B.C.

Scientists said the odds of finding a match were not as enormous as might appear, because of the relatively small number of people who lived in Britain during the Stone Age.

Sykes said the discovery strengthened the theory that the ancestors of modern-day Britons were hunter-gatherers rather than farmers.

"There has been an idea that most modern European are descended from farmers that came in from the Middle East about 10,000 years ago, reaching Britain about 6,000 years ago," Sykes told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. "This kind of evidence shows that is probably not true, and that modern Britons are in fact descended from the earlier inhabitants like Cheddar Man who existed on hunting and gathering and who were not farmers."

Scientists said they were hoping to use the same technique of sampling mitochondrial DNA to prove whether Neanderthals, who died out about 25,000 years ago, were linked to modern humans or were a completely different species.

Professor Chris Stringer, a researcher at the Natural History Museum, said, "This work may finally let us end a 150-year-old argument which has existed since a Neanderthal man fossil was first found."

Targett, an only child who has no children, was still coming to terms with the idea of having a Stone Age man as a relative.

But his wife, Catherine, said, "Maybe this explains why he likes his steaks rare."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: age; ancientautopsies; cheddar; cheddarcaves; cheddarman; descendant; found; godsgravesglyphs; greenbayfan; helixmakemineadouble; man; of; skeleton; stone
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I've linked this fascinating article a number of times to other threads.

Time for its own thread.

1 posted on 12/30/2005 5:03:23 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Cheddar Man - 9,000 Years Old)

I bet that's some sharp-assed cheese...

2 posted on 12/30/2005 5:03:56 PM PST by dirtboy (Drool overflowed my buffer...)
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


3 posted on 12/30/2005 5:04:03 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Targett lives about a kilometer from the caves where Cheddar Man was found. Previous tests have shown that Cheddar Man suffered a violent death at the age of about 23 in 7150 B.C.

Butted by a moose?

4 posted on 12/30/2005 5:04:47 PM PST by RichInOC (...unnngh!)
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To: blam

The Stone Age was only 9,000 years ago?


5 posted on 12/30/2005 5:05:10 PM PST by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all.)
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To: blam
Targett lives about a kilometer from the caves where Cheddar Man was found. Previous tests have shown that Cheddar Man suffered a violent death at the age of about 23 in 7150 B.C.

Been in the neighborhood a while!

6 posted on 12/30/2005 5:07:03 PM PST by OSHA (Deviled eggs may be better the 2nd day. No one knows for sure.)
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To: blam

I rememeber reading about this when it was first reported. The most interesting thing to me is the guy lived right where the skeleton was discovered.


7 posted on 12/30/2005 5:07:49 PM PST by yarddog
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To: steveegg

Your uncle?


8 posted on 12/30/2005 5:08:05 PM PST by Fierce Allegiance (I miss my dad.)
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To: blam

9 posted on 12/30/2005 5:08:36 PM PST by Mr. Mojo
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To: blam

With such a pedigree Adrian Targett is to be inscribed into peerage, and the sooner the better. How many of them have known ancestors even 1000 years ago?


10 posted on 12/30/2005 5:09:01 PM PST by GSlob
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To: blam

Where is Gouda Man?


11 posted on 12/30/2005 5:09:13 PM PST by woofie
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To: blam

Really? This was never a thread? The article is practically archeological itself.


12 posted on 12/30/2005 5:09:32 PM PST by RightWhale (pas de lieu, Rhone que nous)
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To: blam

That is amazing! Time to redo the family tree to add Cheddar Man!


13 posted on 12/30/2005 5:10:14 PM PST by penelopesire
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To: woofie

LOL
I like this part:
"Targett, an only child who has no children, was still coming to terms with the idea of having a Stone Age man as a relative.
But his wife, Catherine, said, "Maybe this explains why he likes his steaks rare."

Now..after 9,000 years..the family tree ends. This man owes it to Cheddar Man to marry and breed..lol


14 posted on 12/30/2005 5:13:24 PM PST by penelopesire
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To: GSlob

They go back 940 years some of them, most are since 1066.


15 posted on 12/30/2005 5:14:57 PM PST by RightWhale (pas de lieu, Rhone que nous)
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To: blam
Cheddar man in England?

Big deal. We have Ketchup Boy in America.

So there.

16 posted on 12/30/2005 5:15:00 PM PST by Bon mots
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To: penelopesire

opps..on reread i see he is married. Bummer.


17 posted on 12/30/2005 5:15:22 PM PST by penelopesire
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To: blam
Chedder man, Chedder man
Chedder man hates Burger man
They have a fight, Chedder wins
Chedder man!
18 posted on 12/30/2005 5:16:16 PM PST by 6SJ7
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To: blam

They found the first Cheese Head.


19 posted on 12/30/2005 5:19:19 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (Post Christmas shopping for a new tag line.)
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To: blam

At first read, I saw 9,000 year old stone skeleton.


20 posted on 12/30/2005 5:19:43 PM PST by razorback-bert
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