Last night I was making the below image for a short article explaining why Western Hunter-Gatherers were not “black” (I will publish the longer version some other time).

I noticed that the Loschbour Man reconstruction video ( clearly uses different lighting on his skull versus his face, subtly darkening the image to the point that his features blend into the background. The difference is pretty subtle, but it’s definitely there.

Something similar was done to the La Brana Man facial reconstruction sketches used in the press release ( It looks like someone messed with the brightness/contrast levels and darkened the whole image. You can see that it looks pretty unnatural and grayed-out compared to the adjusted version below. Again, the difference is small but it’s definitely there. I’ve been photoshopping things for a long time, so it’s quite easy to spot these minor tweaks.

The same thing was done to the new Cheddar Man reconstruction, whose pigmentation was already way darker than it should have been. Compare the sculpture in natural lighting to the press shot used by the media. Zero subtlety.

Anyway, in my forthcoming article, I’ll explain why WHG were neither “Black” (racially Sub-Saharan African) nor “black” (very dark-skinned). The Loschbour Man reconstruction is probably pretty close to their actual pigmentation: An intermediate, olive, or tanned skin tone, similar to modern-day Inuits or Mediterranean Europeans during the peak of summer.

At the darkest, WHG pigmentation may have been similar to that of a modern gulf Arab or a Native American. We know that they weren’t white-skinned but there is no way that they were “black.”