Tags: ancient | baby | boom | native | american

Ancient Baby Boom: Native American Moms Had as Many as 7 Kids

By    |   Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 09:55 AM

Researchers have uncovered an ancient baby boom among Native Americans that flourished from the years 500 to 1000 A.D. At one point, mothers may have been having  as many as seven children.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the birthrates were so high they likely exceeded even the highest birthrates found across the globe today. 

Researchers, whose findings were published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, say that the boom was likely caused by tribes' slow but steady transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural ones.

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"It illustrates the coupling and feedbacks between human societies and their environment," Alan Tessier, acting deputy division director in the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Biological Sciences, said in a release about the study.

"It's the first step toward all the trappings of civilization that we currently see," said another expert, Tim Kohler, an anthropologist at Washington State University.

Scientists noted that corn, also known as maize, was raised by natives as far back as 2000 B.C., but it took until 400 B.C. for the crop to reach 80 percent of the region's calories. From there, it took over 1000 years to get to the baby boom heyday.

"You can take corn and grind it up and make a porridge and that makes a great weaning food," said Kohler, explaining that the raising of corn provided consistent nutrition to growing children. He also said that a similar baby boom took place upon the adoption of agriculture in Europe several thousand years earlier.

To measure the boom, Kohler and a team of researchers compiled data from 194 known archeological sites in the Southwest U.S. that detail over 10,000 deaths that occurred between 1100 B.C. and A.D. 1300. Sorting by age, they were able to determine the youthfulness of tribes through different time periods.

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Researchers have uncovered an ancient baby boom among Native Americans that flourished from the years 500 to 1000 A.D. At one point, mothers may have been having as many as seven children.
ancient, baby, boom, native, american
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2014-55-02
Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 09:55 AM
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