The 34,000-year-old burial of an adult male at Sunghir, Russia shows numerous mammoth ivory beads, a string of Arctic fox teeth, and other adornments. | José-Manuel Benito Álvarez, Wikimedia Commons

Early Human Migrants Likely Formed Mating Networks to Avoid Inbreeding

Genetic analysis of Homo sapiens buried together 34,000 years ago found they were not closely related, despite likely living within a small group.

Published On 10/10/2017
11:16 AM EDT
M M ost human societies around the globe eschew inbreeding, and for good reason. Mating with close relatives can lead to disabling, and even deadly, genetic disorders. Historians, for example, believe that Charles II of Spain (1661–1700), who suffered from numerous excruciating physical and mental health problems, was inbred. Impotent, he died without an heir, ending the Spanish Habsburg dynasty.
Three 31,000-year-old skulls from Dolni Vestonice in the Czech Republic | Martin Frouz and Jiří Svoboda