Our ancestors had many skeletal anomalies, likely due to inbreeding. Credit: Erik Trinkaus
Why early humans had skeletal abnormalities - science news

The anatomy of ancient skeletons suggests that early humans had an unusually high number of birth defects affecting the skeleton. A recent study supports the idea that this is because of frequent inbreeding among small groups, although other explanations are also possible.

The human bones described in the study date between 2.5 million to 9,700 years B.C.E. and come from various regions around the globe. They had a very high incidence of abnormalities, many of them induced by known genetic mutations, suggesting that some of those ancient people were somehow related.

Inbreeding could have promoted the spreading of harmful genetic mutations within the populations. Evidence based on genetic analysis of early humans also supports this hypothesis.

Read the full story: Sciencemag
Scientific publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences