Over the past 5,000 years, the age of mothers has increased. But the fathers have not aged much

(ORDO NEWS) — The lifespan of a particular generation can tell a lot about human biology and social organization.

Now American researchers have been able to determine the average age at which men and women conceived offspring over the past 250,000 years.

With each new generation, the number of mutations in our DNA increases, so by studying the genetic material of parents and children, scientists can detect and classify these subtle changes.

However, after analyzing the mutations of several thousand Icelandic children, researchers from Indiana University Bloomington (USA) noticed that the specific type of mutation depends on the age of the parents at the time of the child’s conception.

Thus, by tracking the number and type of mutations in the DNA of a modern person, one can “look into the past” by finding out at what age his ancestors conceived.

It is also possible to track mutations that are passed only through the male or only through the female line, which will allow us to estimate the age of conception of all the grandparents of the child, compiling a “genetic dossier” on people who lived ten, twenty or one hundred generations ago.

The results of the study showed that, on average, over the past 250 thousand years, people conceived children at the age of 26.9 years, while men consistently became parents later (30.7 years) than women (23.2 years).

This difference has narrowed markedly over the past 5,000 years: now the average age of the mother is 26.4 years, and so far only increasing, while the age of the father has not changed markedly.

By tracking major changes in parental ages, scientists were able to link them to historical events in human life, such as the mass exodus from Africa, the maximum of the last glaciation , or the transition from hunting and gathering to primitive farming and pastoralism.

So, for example, about 10 thousand years ago, when people began to actively breed domestic animals and grow plants, the age of parents of both sexes decreased, which caused a sharp increase in human populations.

Over the past 5 000 years the age of mothers has increased But the fathers have not aged much 2
Dynamics of the age of fathers ( blue dots ) and mothers ( red dots ) over 250 thousand years

Now, to the classical paleontological and archaeological sources, according to which scientists restore the history of mankind, geneticists have added our own DNA, in which, as in a living chronicle, key events in the life of our distant ancestors are “recorded”.


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