Genetic analysis reveals the secrets of ancient Peruvian families

Genetic analysis reveals the secrets of ancient Peruvian families

Genetic analysis of individuals buried in funerary monuments near a volcano in southern Peru have revealed the family relationships and burial traditions of the ancient Peruvians who populated the area long before the arrival of the conquerors.

The ancient peruvians they buried their dead in "chullpas”, Structures that resemble vertical tombs and can reach two meters in height. But the unknown is the relationship between the buried, since researchers do not know the links between the individuals buried within a “chullpa”.

What they do know is that families were organized in "ayllu". They were family groups that shared common lands and responsibilities. Historians believe that men kept the ancestral lands and exchanged their sisters for wives, to postpone the legacy of the “ayllu”.

The new study, carried out by the University of Warsaw in collaboration with the Catholic University of Santa Maria, has the purpose of solving that question. For this they have recovered and analyzed genomic sequences of 41 individuals who were buried in six "chullpas", located 4,000 meters high on one of the faces of Mount Cora Cora, in southern Peru. Although the site has been looted, the remains are well preserved due to the cold and dry land.

Researchers have been able to isolate DNA from the bones and teeth of 27 individuals. This has enabled them to look at the core of the DNA, along with the maternal mitochondrial genome. In addition, they also analyzed the genetic sequences of the Y chromosome, which is inherited from the father and determines whether an individual is male.

Through this information they have achieved identify the sex of each of the individuals. Comparing their genes, as well as matching 700 population samples in South America, has revealed a great deal of information. Scientists have discovered that the people of the "chullpas" were genetically similar to the current population of the Andes of Peru, that is, regions such as Puno, San Martín, Ancash and Yungay. This implies that the European colonization of the area did not genetically affect the people who lived in that region.

Those in charge of this project have also been able to determine that the family connections were very intense and that it is more than likely that within each “chullpa", the "aylluThey will bury generations of ancestors. Two of the "chullpa" contained remains of men with identical chromosomes, which means that two groups of men of several generations directly related had been buried together (parents, children, siblings). This finding reinforces theories about the male dominance of the “ayllu”.

However, there's an exception. In a third "chullpa"Three different male lines were found. The DNA material comparison of these three men suggests that two of the men had the same mother but different fathers, while the third was linked to one of the mothers, probably as a stepbrother. As a justification, the researchers explain that "the rules regarding marriages and social organizations" were "an idealization”And that they cannot conclude if it is“an intentional situation or not”.

Live Science

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.


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