Oldest-Known Nuclear Family Unearthed

Murdered Stone Age family found buried in group hug
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2008 4:57 AM CST
The remains of the family of four held evidence, including injuries to the hands and forearms, that indicate they died violently at the same time.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – The oldest nuclear family ever discovered has been found in a group hug in a Stone Age burial site, the Independent reports. Genetic testing revealed that the four skeletons buried in each other's arms at the site in Germany were a father, mother, and their two young sons. All had died violently and were buried at the same time.

The grave is the oldest evidence scientists have found of families living in a unit familiar to us today, said the researchers, whose discovery is detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The arrangement of the bodies, different from earlier Neolithic finds, suggests that family members were killed in a raid by a rival tribe and buried by survivors who knew the family connection, researchers explained. "Their unity in death suggests a unity in life."

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