Study: 100,000-year-old skull shows signs of inbreeding

03/19/2013 | LiveScience.com

Analysis of a 100,000-year-old human skull discovered in China found evidence of in-breeding, a practice that may have been quite common among early humans, according to a report published in the journal PLoS ONE. The Xujiayao 11, named after the site where it was found, had signs of congenital abnormalities, and likely comes from a small, isolated population of early humans. Skulls from the Pleistocene epoch, about 2.6 million to 12,000 years ago, often display signs of genetic abnormalities, reinforcing the idea that "during much of this period of human evolution, human populations were very small" and likely inbred, said the study's lead researcher Erik Trinkhaus.

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