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Current Affairs

World’s oldest family tree

Date: 28 December 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Researchers have been able to construct the “world’s oldest family tree” using remains of individuals unearthed in Britain.

 

Background

 Remains of 35 individuals who lived about 5,700 years ago were excavated in Britain. They were found near a place where farming was first introduced in the country.

 

Details

  • The study was first such effort to reveal in detail how prehistoric families were structured before written record existed.

  • The study has managed to identify various insights into burial and kinship practices prevalent in the Neolithic times.

 

Key findings

  • The study was conducted by obtaining DNA from bones and teeth of 35 individuals. Out of these, 27 were close biological relatives.

  • The identity of the remaining eight could not be ascertained as they were not related. This tells that biological relation was not the only criteria for inclusion in the tomb.

 

Significance

  • The DNA study tells that most of the people entombed descended from four women who had children with the same man.

  • Men were buried with their father or brothers, indicating patrilineal descent. There were no adult daughters buried.

  • This suggests that they might have been buried elsewhere with their partners. The decision to burry in north or south side of the memorial might be dependent on woman.

  • Children descended from first generation women were given higher precedence. This suggests that first-generation women were socially significant in the memories of this community.