The 31,000-year-old grave reveals the oldest known baby twin burial in the world

An ancient grave in Austria may represent the oldest burial of twins on record, a new study finds.

The burial dates to 31,000 years old in the Upper Paleolithic (period from 40,000 to 10,000 years ago), also known as the Old Stone Age. One of the two infants died shortly after death, while his twin brother lived for about 50 days or just 7 weeks, according to an analysis of both children.

According to the research, a third infant, a 3-month-old baby, buried 5 feet (1.5 m) away, is likely to be published online in the journal on 6 November. Communication biology.

Researchers found an oval-shaped burial of twins on the banks of the Danube River by the Krems Town Center in 2005 at the Krems-Wachtberg archaeological site. The remains of the twins were covered with ocher, a red pigment often used. Ancient burials around the world.

Twin baby lives.  (Xxx)Twin baby lives. (Orea Oaw)

Researchers said the burial burial also included 53 beads made of mammoth ivory, possibly threaded on a necklace, and a perforated fox and three perforated mollusks, possibly necklace pendants. A huge shoulder blade placed over the burial protects the small bodies below it for millennia.

Burials around other babies also include ocher, as well as a 3-inch-long (8 cm) giant-ivory pin, which could have been tied together with a leather garment at the time of burial.

The discovery made headlines soon after its discovery, and the researchers also created a replica of the twin burial, which was on display at the Natural History Museum in Vienna in 2013.

However, scientists still had much to learn about ancient burials. Therefore, in the new project, an interdisciplinary group of researchers decided to understand the relationship between these three infants and determine their sex and age at the time of death.

Catch the good including Mammoth Eybury Beas (top and bottom left) and three shells (second to right).  (Ore ove)Make good graves including mammoth ivory seeds (top and bottom left) and three shells (second to right). (Orea Oaw)

Researchers have conducted the first study on record to use ancient DNA to confirm twins in the archaeological record. And not just any twins, but identical twins.

Senior researcher Ron Pinhasi, an associate professor in the Department of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Vienna, studied “this is the earliest evidence of a twin birth”, a statement said (translated from German with Google Translate).

Researchers do not know how common twins were born during the Upper Paleolithic (fluctuations by region and time), but today, twins (both identical and fraternal) occur in one in 85 births. While identical twins are born in approximately one in 250 births.

“Discovering many burials from the Paleolithic period is a feature in itself,” said research researcher Maria Teschler-Nicola, a biologist at the Natural History Museum Vienna, who studied the study. “The fact that enough and high quality old DNA can be extracted from a fragile baby skeleton remains for a genome analysis that exceeds all our expectations and can be compared to a lottery ticket.”

Researchers found that genetic analysis of the third infant revealed that he was a third-degree male relative.

To determine the age at which infants died, researchers looked at each child’s top second insulator. The team paid special attention to the so-called “newborn baby line”, a deep line in the tooth enamel that separates the enamel that forms after birth, Tessler-Nicola said.

Those neonatal lines, as well as the skeletal development of infants, suggested that the twins were either full, or nearly full-term, babies. It seems that the hunter-gatherer group first buried the twins, then opened the grave when they buried their brother.

This discovery confirms the cultural-historical practice of reopening a tomb for the purpose of rebellion, which had never been documented before Paleolithic burials, the researchers said.

The team also analyzed chemical elements including isotopes of carbon, nitrogen and barium in tooth enamel, which revealed that each twin was breastfed. Even though the twins’ cousins ​​survived for three months, the “lines of tension” in their teeth suggest that she was experiencing difficulties, perhaps because her mother had a painful breast infection known as mastitis. Was, or perhaps because she was not spared from birth.

It is unknown why these infants died, but the death of these twins and their cousins ​​was a traumatic event for this Paleolithic hunter-gatherer who set up camp and buried their children long before the Danube.

“The children were given special importance to the group and were highly respected and respected,” Teschler-Nicola told Live Science.

The extraordinary burial “seems to have been a great loss to the community and their survival.”

This article was originally published by Live Science. Read the original article here.


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