Paleogenomics suggest that prehistoric humans formed mating networks to avoid inbreeding

A study led by an international team of scientists, including Isabelle Dupanloup Duperret, suggests that early humans might have purposely avoided mating with closely related partners. And this as early as 34,000 years ago.

To reach their conclusions, the scientists examined genetic information from the remains of anatomically modern humans who lived in Sunghir, an Upper Paleolithic site in Russia. While these people lived at the same time and were buried together, the analyses reveal that they were not closely related in genetic terms. The result was surprising, as people at that time lived in very small groups. To avoid inbreeding, as seems to be the case, they must therefore have developed complex cultural systems, such as wide social networks.

Ancient genomes show social and reproductive behavior of early Upper Paleolithic foragers

DOI: 10.1126/science.aao1807

Authors : Martin Sikora, Andaine Seguin-Orlando, Vitor C. Sousa, Anders Albrechtsen, Thorfinn Korneliussen, Amy Ko, Simon Rasmussen, Isabelle Dupanloup, Philip R. Nigst, Marjolein D. Bosch, Gabriel Renaud, Morten E. Allentoft, Ashot Margaryan, Sergey V. Vasilyev, Elizaveta V. Veselovskaya, Svetlana B. Borutskaya, Thibaut Deviese, Dan Comeskey, Tom Higham, Andrea Manica, Robert Foley, David J. Meltzer, Rasmus Nielsen, Laurent Excoffier, Marta Mirazon Lahr, Ludovic Orlando, Eske Willerslev