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Study of 3,800-Year-Old Central Eurasian Burial Mound Reveals Short Life Expectancy, Patrilineal Society

In a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany and elsewhere examined the skeletal remains found within a 3,800-year burial mound in Nepluyevsky in what is now Russia. Using integrative methods from archaeology, anthropology, and paleogenomics, they unraveled this Eurasian Bronze Age pastoral community's life expectancy and relatedness. The analysis of the dental traits and sequencing revealed that men were more biologically related than females and that there was a skewed sex ratio among children and adolescents, with males being more frequent than females. While the life expectancy was generally very low, adult males lived, on average, eight years longer than females, the authors write. Meanwhile, they studied genomic data from 32 buried individuals and reconstructed the pedigree of a multigenerational family based on their degree of biological relatedness. The resulting family tree spanned three generations and centered on six brothers and their wives, children, and grandchildren, suggesting a patrilineal society. The authors also note that Nepluyevsky people relied on livestock herding and derived most of their ancestry from "Sintashta-like" ancestors.

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