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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 Max Romantschuk ( 132276 ) <> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:04AM (#25814827) Homepage

    Love seems to be embedded in the very genetic fabric of mammals on some level. I'm sure there was space for love, in a way that made sense back then anyway.

  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:48AM (#25815303) Homepage Journal

    because we all live on one tiny piece of rock. we are already in the same boat. what happens in beijing matters in new york matters in moscow matters in london. regardless of national divisions. there is no law, no border guard that protects you if they screw up rorally in beijing. there is no escaping the consequences of the poor choices someone somewhere else makes. already. regardless of world government or not

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

  • by totally bogus dude ( 1040246 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:28AM (#25815475)

    Your off-topic mod sucks, and I hope someone fixes it. It's definitely an interest subject, but I doubt we'll ever really know for sure -- there's only so much you can deduce from fossils. That said, I imagine it would be very different to how we behave today.

    Consider that even in our very recent past, most marriages were arranged by the parents or even other members of the society -- anyone who tried to "follow their heart" would've been punished, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if such punishments were pretty extreme like being stoned to death. [] (Fair warning: that article is pretty unpleasant.)

    I also wonder how long we humans have had the kind of intelligence we have today. 4,000 years isn't a very long time by evolutionary standards, but perhaps intelligence evolves faster? Are the incredible achievements we now take for granted the result of some kind of improvement in our ability to harness the power of the brain, or just a result of slow incremental improvements to our societal organisation? Perhaps it's all down to improved teaching methods and a realisation of its importance?

  • by zeromorph ( 1009305 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:35AM (#25815513)

    Please forgive me commenting on a moderation, but who am I flaimbaiting here?

    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. Every sane German knows this and won't argue about this. And, I think, I hope, we changed much of our political attitude during the last sixty years. Making fun of our inglorious history may very well classify for bad taste - and bad jokes doubly so - but how can it be flamebait?

  • by bestiarosa ( 938309 ) < agent59550406&spamcorptastic,com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:51AM (#25815933)

    From the same article you mentioned, but a bit further down:

    What's more, the famously "affluent society" of hunter-gatherers, with plenty of time to gossip by the fire between hunts and gathers, turns out to be a bit of a myth, or at least an artefact of modern life. The measurements of time spent getting food by the !Kung omitted food-processing time and travel time, partly because the anthropologists gave their subjects lifts in their vehicles and lent them metal knives to process food.

    Very interesting read (I mean your link).

  • by dnoyeb ( 547705 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:39AM (#25817057) Homepage Journal

    Thank you.

    People that look back historically always seem to look at people back then as if they are children. Even when they are full grown adults. Its not like we are more capable then they were. Its not like they are somehow stupid. Like on TV cave men always simply grunt, when their vocal capabilities are vast. No other animal with vocal capabilities simply ignores them. Its un-scientifit. They couldn't develop without use.

    So this crack about if there is "space for love?" Come on! He says that as if Love is useless. Again, unscientific.

  • by BigBlueOx ( 1201587 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:45AM (#25817151)
    And even by tribal warfare standards, it sounds as an atrocity.

    Actually, by tribal warfare standards, hell, by chimpanzee warfare standards, this is SOP. Tribal warfare usually emphasized macho posturing and ritual killing of an enemy semi-equal to boost one's status in the community (a good historical example of this is the story of Crazy Horse).
    But every now and then things would get serious and a mass killing/destroying/burn-it-all-down raid against an enemy will occur. What's *fascinating* is that chimps exhibit exactly the same behaviors (oh, look it up ferchrissakes - Goodall/Wrangham). Well, it's fascinating to me anyway.

    You don't take the time to smash someone's fingers _after_ they're already stone dead. Doing that to women and children? Oooer.

    I think you missed the point of those injuries. The broken fingers and wrists are defensive injuries that occurred when the victims were attempting to ward off the blows that killed them. The woman who had a spear point lodged in one of her vertebrae was probably running for her life.

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.