A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Genetic Abnormalities Appear in Early Human Fossils
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI—A new study of early human fossils concludes that they exhibit a high frequency of congenital abnormalities, perhaps indicating that Pleistocene populations were small and isolated. As an example, fragments of a 100,000-year-old skull unearthed in northern China show evidence of a disorder known as “enlarged parietal foramen,” caused by a genetic mutation that is rare in current populations. “It remains unclear, and probably un-testable, to what extent these populations were inbred,” noted the study, which was led by Erik Trinkhaus of Washington University in St. Louis.
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