New York, October 20
A new study suggests Neanderthals formed small, tightknit communities where females may have travelled to move in with their mates.
The research used genetic sleuthing to offer a rare snapshot of Neanderthal family dynamics — including a father and his teenage daughter who lived together in Siberia more than 50,000 years ago.
Researchers were able to pull DNA out of tiny bone fragments found in two Russian caves. In their study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, they used the genetic data to map out relationships between 13 different Neanderthals and get clues to how they lived.
“When I work on a bone or two, it’s very easy to forget that these are actually people with their own lives and stories,” said study author Bence Viola, an anthropologist at the University of Toronto. “Figuring out how they’re related to each other really makes them much more human.”