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Biotech Science

Oldest Nuclear Family Found Murdered In Germany 186

Pickens writes "The oldest genetically identifiable nuclear family met a violent death, according to analysis of remains from 4,600-year-old burials in Germany where the broken bones of these stone age people show they were killed in a struggle. Comparisons of DNA from one grave confirm it contained a mother, father, and their two children. 'We're really sure, based on hard biological facts not just supposing or assuming,' says Dr. Wolfgang Haak, from The Australian Centre for Ancient DNA. The stone-age people are thought to belong to a group known as the Corded Ware Culture, signified by their pots decorated with impressions from twisted cords. The children and adult males had the same type of strontium in their teeth — which was also found locally, but the nearest match to the women's teeth was at least 50km away, suggesting they had moved to the area. 'They were definitely murdered, there are big holes in their heads, fingers and wrists are broken,' says Dr. Alistair Pike from Bristol University. He noted that one victim even had the tip of a stone weapon embedded in a vertebra. 'You feel some kind of sympathy for them, it's a human thing, somebody must have really cared for them. ... We don't know how hard daily life was back there and if there was any space for love,' added Dr. Haak."
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Oldest Nuclear Family Found Murdered In Germany

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  • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:04AM (#25814831)

    Murder is a legal construct from relatively modern times; and even the modern definition excludes such things as killing of enemies. The ideas about who is your enemy has shiftet somewhat since that time, I imagine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:09AM (#25814845)

    The perpetrator of this monstrosity must be caught and brought to justice!

    It's ok. We're going to set up internet filters to block any web pages that discuss stone tools, so this sort of crime can never happen again.

  • Re:tribalism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WiiVault ( 1039946 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:37AM (#25814981)
    Sounds good on the surface but don't forget that our diversity of religion and state keeps us from a one government 1984 kind of world. Sure we disagree sure every nation has it's share of assholes, but different views and ideas allow todays people to find a culture that works for them and helps provide balance.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:11AM (#25815143)

    it's hard to influence governments at a local level, harder at a regional level, almost impossible at a national level (bailouts in th US or Iraq war in the UK for example?). Checks and balances *aren't* working. Try doing it at the multinational level (EU? bwahaha, good luck with that).

    At the global level you might as well just spread your legs, grab your ankles and loosen up.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:36AM (#25815239)

    Because if you don't like the "One True World" government, where do you go? I myself have been fortunate enough to find a place where I was not born, where things are dealt with differently. This would be impossible under a worldwide system.

    Once there is no competition, no "outside" to peer in, no "inside" to peer out of, all those checks and balances go out the window.

    One world government means that the entire world will have to bow down to the lowest common denominator. Look at our "integrated" western societies for a preview of this; everybody is offended by something which means that slowly but surely we are choking ourselves to death to keep everybody from being offended. You don't notice this until you spend a good 10 years outside and come back and it just drains you. Of course, as I mentioned, this would be impossible in a future One World Government scenario.

    Oh, and does my negative reaction to a possible "democratic" One World Government also nullify my concerns?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:45AM (#25815285)

    The argument against one world government is a simple one based on biodiversity. Basically, if that single government is fucked up, we are all screwed. You see that theme in a lot of dystopian scifi. It's the individuals on the fringe--the "savages"--that fight to topple the one world order (e.g., Gattaca, Brave New World).

    The advantage of tribalism was that many different groups developed their own cultures, both sustainable and unsustainable, and evolutionary processes weeded out the unsustainable ones (including the violent ones, if you examine tribal history in the Americas).

    The advent of larger social groupings like cities and nations, based on the development of totalitarian agriculture, allows the formation of caste systems including "warrior" castes (like the military or the police). Once a social group has enough resources to support a warrior caste it can exert its control upon its neighbors and wipe out more peaceful groups. I would argue that at this point a social group can no longer be called a tribe (which invalidates your original argument about the dangers of tribalism).

    We are trending towards one world culture, and the danger is that if this culture is fundamentally flawed (and it's not hard to arrive at that conclusion), the damage caused by its downfall will affect the entire planet rather than an isolated group.

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:55AM (#25815337)

    I figured they were talking about the murder of the, erm, oldest people in Germany living in this current age... So I clicked through out of curiousity, wondering what it might have to do with technology.

    Blah, that's better than me. I was expecting to read about the recent grizzly murder of a family of an elderly couple in their 90's and their seventy-something year old children who were still living with them (but no spouses for the children or third generation). In other words, the family that met the conditions of a nuclear family with the oldest members.

  • Sampling bias (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vuo ( 156163 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:28AM (#25815473) Homepage
    Duh. This is obvious sampling bias. Of course the oldest find of the skeletons of a complete family is that of a family died suddenly and violently. If they had died separately, it'd be less likely that they'd be found in exact same location.
  • Re:Ouch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:39AM (#25815535)

    Did anyone else read this as "the woman's teeth were found 50 km away from the rest of her body"? That would be one hell of a sucker-punch!

    As if "Nuclear family" wasn't confusing enough.

    I thought a family that was famous for something nuclear-related in the '50s had recently been killed.

  • by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:48AM (#25815589)

    Sorry, but we Germans have earned quite a reputation of going large-scale berzerk in the last centuries and every neighbouring country of us has suffered from it.

    Exactly. You worked hard for that reputation, so you earned it. I'd hate it if you had to start all over again. (Particularly since I'm one of those neighbours.)

  • by theaveng ( 1243528 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:14AM (#25815701)

    At the time, 2500 B.C., we had already built advanced cultures in Egypt, Greece, and China. This is the era from which we get the great pyramids, the earliest oral legends about a great flood and god mythologies, and the first alphabet (not pictograms, but an actual letter-based form of writing).

    I don't think there was any difference in intelligence between them and us... not in such a short span of time.

  • by Koiu Lpoi ( 632570 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {iopluiok}> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:17AM (#25815721)

    and as for culture, we are part of the same culture. human culture. the differences betwen cultures are minimal and arbitrary and ultimately inconsequential

    Come visit Japan for a while (or pretty much anywhere that isn't Europe/US etc), and I suspect that your "differences are minimal and arbitrary" idea will fall away pretty quick. We're all human, and we all share that, but there's a LOT different as well.

  • Re:Ouch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:17AM (#25815725) Journal

    D to the P, bro.

    I'm thinking she just left the teeth in a glass on her night stand.

    Seriously, I don't think it's surprising that some catastrophic or violent event caused the oldest "nuclear" family's remains to be found together in the same place.

    In face, under what other circumstances would you find the remains of a whole family in one place, except a cemetary, and then most of them would be fully grown?

  • I'm not surprised. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rufty ( 37223 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @09:03AM (#25816007) Homepage

    For the family to be identifiable as a family and not a bunch of adult graves miles and years apart, they'll have all had to die at the same time. Doesn't mean it was necessarily common back then, though.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @09:45AM (#25816357)

    So they had plenty of time for love, way way more so than your average family with two working parents.

    ...unless you account for the life expectancy, I guess?

  • by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:35AM (#25818027) Homepage

    what exactly is sensationalized by the BBC? they are the oldest nuclear family to be positively identified. that is a fact, and a significant part of this archaeological find. they were in fact murdered (presumably bears and other native predators did not know how to use stone weapons).

    that some people don't know what a "nuclear family []" is, or jump to incorrect conclusions about the article before reading it does not mean BBC sensationalized the story.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall