The remains of a man found buried inside a stone tomb in Ireland indicates he was the product of incest, a new study reveals.
Researchers found that DNA extracted from the man’s remains contains a much higher number of identical versions of the same genes – which indicates that his parents were either siblings or a parent and child.
The discovery inside the gigantic tomb also provides insights into how ruling families operated during that time and their ability to build massive engineering projects.
The man’s bones had previously been found in the Newgrange passage tomb, a large mound near the River Boyne, according to the study’s abstract.
Newgrange – file photo.
(Photo by Wojtek BUSS /Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
For the study, led by geneticists Lara Cassidy and Daniel Bradley of Trinity College Dublin, researchers examined DNA from 44 people buried in various Irish tombs and graves dating to between roughly 6,600 and 4,500 years ago.
Only the Newgrange man, who was interred in the largest and most impressive structure, had inherited genetic markers of incest.
Entrance to the Newgrange Stone Age Passage Tomb (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1993), County Meath. Ireland, ca 3200 B.C. – file photo.
(Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
The researchers, led by geneticists Lara Cassidy and Daniel Bradley of Trinity College Dublin, published their findings on Wednesday in the journal Nature.
In December of last year, a study revealed that the facial deformity known as “Habsburg Jaw” – seen in the dynasty of Spanish and Austrian royals – is a sign of inbreeding.