Unraveling the Mystery of Lola: The Stone Age Girl with Dark Skin and Blue Eyes

Controversy Erupts as DNA Analysis Reveals Lola’s Appearance

In a groundbreaking discovery, Danish archaeologists have unearthed an almost 6,000-year-old piece of chewing gum on the south coast of Lolland. This ancient artifact, found during the Fehmarnbelt project, has provided researchers with a unique opportunity to extract DNA and reconstruct the entire genome of a Stone Age girl. Affectionately named Lola, this young girl has captivated the world with her intriguing story. However, the recent controversy surrounding the artistic impression of Lola has ignited a heated debate about the portrayal of her appearance.

Stone-age girl in social media ‘shitstorm’:

The media frenzy surrounding Lola reached its peak when an artistic impression of her, based on her DNA analysis, caused a storm on social media. Critics accused the researchers and the Museum Lolland-Falster of ‘blackwashing’ the past, claiming that Lola’s depiction was inaccurate and misleading. The controversy grew to such an extent that the museum had to defend itself on national television, and even the Danish newspaper ‘Ekstrabladet’ weighed in with a passionate editorial.

What we know about Lola:

While the exact age of Lola when she discarded the chewing gum remains unknown, her genome has provided valuable insights into her way of life. Lola belonged to a hunter-gatherer society that relied on wild resources such as fish, nuts, and game for sustenance. Unlike the emerging farming communities in other parts of Europe at the time, Lola and her kin continued to live as hunter-gatherers, just as their ancestors had done for thousands of years.

The genetics of human skin pigmentation:

To understand Lola’s appearance, it is essential to delve into the genetics of human skin pigmentation. Skin color is a complex trait influenced by multiple genes, including the melanocortin 1 receptor gene (MC1R). These genes regulate the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color. By analyzing 41 gene variants associated with skin, hair, and eye color, researchers concluded that Lola likely had dark skin, dark hair, and blue eyes.

A common look in prehistoric Europe:

Contrary to popular belief, Lola’s appearance was not an anomaly. Ancient DNA studies have revealed that her combination of dark skin, dark hair, and blue eyes was prevalent among Stone Age individuals in Europe. The genomes of Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic individuals from Western Europe consistently lack the skin-lightening variants that are common in modern Europeans. This suggests that Lola’s phenotype was more common in prehistoric Europe than it is today.

How Europeans got their lighter skin:

The evolution of lighter skin in northern Europeans is a result of various factors, including genetic admixture, natural selection, and changes in diet. While it was initially believed that lighter skin emerged when our ancestors migrated out of Africa, recent evidence suggests that this occurred much later in European prehistory. The of farming and a diet lacking in vitamin D played a significant role in the selection for lighter skin tones.

Our changing diet also played a part:

During most of European prehistory, people relied on a diet rich in vitamin D from wild resources. However, the transition to a farmer’s diet, which was high in carbohydrates but low in vitamin D, coincided with the evolution of lighter skin tones in western Europe. The lack of vitamin D in the diet likely increased the selection pressures favoring lighter skin.


The controversy surrounding Lola’s artistic impression highlights the biases and preconceptions we bring to the interpretation of the past. By analyzing Lola’s DNA, researchers provided a glimpse into the appearance of Stone Age individuals in Europe. Lola’s dark skin, dark hair, and blue eyes were not anomalies but rather representative of the population at the time. This discovery challenges our understanding of the evolution of skin color in Europe and emphasizes the complex interplay between genetics, environment, and diet. The story of Lola serves as a reminder that our perception of the past is constantly evolving as new scientific discoveries shed light on the mysteries of our ancient ancestors.






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