A retired school teacher holds the Guinness Record because he can trace his direct ancestor to a 9000-year-old caveman

Anita Durairaj

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Image of Cave menPhoto byDavid S. Soriano; CC-BY-SA-4.0

Adrian Targett is in the Guinness Book of World Records because he can trace his direct ancestor to a 9000-year-old caveman nicknamed the Cheddar Man.

Targett holds the record for being the farthest-traced descendant of any person in history. He is a direct descendant of the Cheddar Man from his mother's side of the family.

The Cheddar Man and Targett are linked through 300 generations.

The Cheddar Man is a Stone Age skeleton that was discovered in 1903 when workers were digging a drain in the Somerset region of Britain.

The human male fossil was actually found in a cave near the village of Cheddar in Somerset (Cheddar cheese originates from the village of Cheddar).

Cheddar Man came to be known as Britain's oldest and complete human skeleton.

In 1997, scientists were able to link the Cheddar Man to his direct, living descendant who lived just half a mile from the Cheddar Man's original burial site. At the time, Targett was just 42 years old and taught history at the local school in Cheddar.

Scientists obtained mitochondrial DNA from a tooth cavity in the skeleton. From the DNA sample, they were able to determine Cheddar Man's genetic makeup.

The scientists then approached the local school and took samples from students and staff whose families had lived longest in the area.

Among all the samples taken, Targett's DNA was a close enough match to that of the Cheddar Man. It conclusively showed that Targett was the direct descendant of the Cheddar Man.

Targett is now a retired schoolteacher. The last time, he appeared in the media was in 2018 when a facial reconstruction was made of the Cheddar Man.

Targett's response then was to say that he bore an uncanny resemblance to his 9000-year-old ancestor.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.

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