Blue-eyed, dark-skinned hunter-gatherer emerges from ancient European DNA

Researchers say a hunter-gatherer who lived in Europe some 7,000 years ago probably had blue eyes and dark skin.

The unusual combination was found in ancient DNA extracted from a tooth discovered in a cave in northern Spain.

Lead researcher Carles Lalueza Fox said in an interview Tuesday that the finding contradicts the stereotype that blue eye color always goes hand-in-hand with light skin. Lalueza Fox says the combination, which is sometimes found today in people with mixed-race ancestry, may have been common among ancient European hunter-gatherers.

Scientists from the United States, Europe and Australia also found that males were poor at digesting milk and starch, an ability that spread among Europeans with the arrival of Neolithic farmers.

Their findings were published this week in the journal Nature.