Common European traits like pale skin evolved relatively recently in central and southern Europe.
Researchers had long assumed that skin lightened as humans migrated from Africa and the Middle East into Europe around 40,000 years ago.
Experts had speculated that shorter day lengths and a sun lower in the sky favoured lighter skin, which more easily synthesised vitamin D.
But a groundbreaking 2015 analysis of the genomes of 83 prehistoric Europeans showed that populations in Europe about 8,000 years ago were still mixed and diverse.
Traits commonly associated with modern Europeans, such as tallness, the ability to digest milk, and lighter skin tone, only became