Discrete traits, inbreeding and family burials during the Natufian: an overview.

Abstract : The presence of family funerary space during the Natufian, as well as inbreeding, was suggested long time ago based on the high prevalence of third molar agenesis found amongst the dead buried at Hayonim Cave (Smith, 1973). However, this hypothesis has been more recently rejected after new discoveries reduced the rate of recurrence of this trait (Belfer-Cohen et al., 1991). Discrete traits are non pathological minor phenotypic variations that can be observed on bones and teeth. Their mode of transmission is multi-dependant but, in general, their heritability is known to be much higher than that of the metric components of the skeleton. For the present study 147 skeletal and dental discrete traits were recorded on a corpus of ca 360 individuals from the major natufian sites (Bocquentin, 2003). From these data it appears that the Natufian population is quite homogeneous and that its non-metric characteristics were significantly stable over time. However, the prevalence of few traits show major differences from settlement to settlement, which may indicate a socio-cultural or, even genetic, isolation of the different natufian groups during a short period of time, and/or a marked degree of inbreeding of part of the community. Furthermore, during the Early Natufian what seem to be family burials linked with specific funerary treatments have been found in different settlements
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Poster communications
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Fanny Bocquentin, Pascal Murail. Discrete traits, inbreeding and family burials during the Natufian: an overview.. 7th International Congress on the Archaeology on the Ancient Near East: Human remains in the ancient Near East: Advances, problems and potential, Apr 2010, Londres, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-01994774⟩

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