Ancient DNA Reveals the First Known Neanderthal Family

For the first time, researchers have identified a Neanderthal family: a father and his teenage daughter, as well as several others who were close relatives. They lived in Siberian caves around 54,000 years ago.

The researchers extracted ancient DNA from bones and teeth that once belonged to 11 Neanderthals living together at the Chagyrskaya Cave, as well as 2 others from a second cave nearby. Of the 13, eight were adults and five were children. Alongside these remains, the team also found stone tools and animal bones.

The researchers say that the individuals found at Chagyrskaya likely lived at the same time—an unusual finding at sites this old, where discoveries often span vast timelines.

“The fact that they were living at the same time is very exciting. This means that they likely came from the same social community.”

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