ou would think that you read the title the other way around but no, surprisingly this is the truth based on a recent study. As we all know, since the early evolution of humankind, our ancestors had no choice but to reproduce with their relatives in order to expand. Based on Christian teachings, so did the children of Adam and Eve. History does show us that incest within ancient times was crucial towards the preservation of various humanoid species such as the Homosapiens, yet this recent study shows that it wasn’t.
Some ancient civilizations had built a culture around incest where they would only reproduce with their relatives. This sort of culture has been carried on in our present times and it can be commonly found within Asian countries. You would expect that with the appearance of online dating we would start to slowly move onwards from incest, yet it is on the rise.
On a worldwide level, one in 10 marriages is between first and second cousins. What is even more interesting is that the countries with the highest marriage rates are also part of the countries that fall into the culture of having their children get married within the family. This would not necessarily present a problem apart from social differences and most importantly the spread of hereditary diseases.
Data from the study
A paper was published on the 14th of September 2021 by Professor Harald Ringbauer from Harvard University who is an expert in Computational Population Genetics. The paper describes a study done by him and two other experts within the field (John Novembre & Matthias Steinrucken) which analyzed the genomic data from 1,785 ancient humans from 45,000 years ago.
The majority of the human population 45,000 years ago would live in very small villages at best and due to the lack of survivability support, they would not leave their communities, meaning that it would be very difficult to find someone else apart from a family member to reproduce with. At least this is what most historians have thought in theory, but based on the results from the study, in practice, it was very different.
Out of the 1,785 ancient humans analyzed in the study, only 53 of them (around 3%) have performed incest. The study specifically looked at the DNA of each ancient human to see if they detect any similarities that would show their parents being related (either brothers and sister or cousins). The sample that was used wasn’t chosen at random, it was actually chosen from multiple populated areas to make sure that the study will stay in accordance with the already predetermined theories.
Based on the research and predictions of historians, this does not make much sense and it is sort of a mystery how they managed that. However, at the same time, this can also be explained by different historical theories. During this period of time (45,000 to 50,000 years ago) our ancestors would not sit in a single place for a long time. Homosapines especially would migrate very often due to the lack of food resources caused by the rapid increase of population.
With a very primitive tongue, the development of socialization started to become a more common practice that pushed breeding with other people than family members forward. We know that the development of a primitive language is what led to a new wave of migration, therefore more opportunities to meet new people to breed.
In my opinion, the lack of incest is also caused by the 100,000 years war between Neanderthals and HomoSapines. The breading with another species let alone pushed the contemporary population away from incest. Although you would think that in times of war, the population would have been more motivated by circumstances to promote incest, it seems that the war actually pushed the population towards unity, once again creating more opportunities to meet new breeding mates.
Why incest is a problem
Some of you may not consider incest as a problem and this is not about judging people based on their sexual preference, this is about a much more serious problem. The biggest issue with incest being on the rise is the spread of hereditary diseases. These are diseases that can only be shared between family members and the list is long.
In most cases, these are diseases for which we have no cure and all it does is create a huge impediment within the quality of life of future children that will sadly (due to cultural differences) have their children destined to the same fate. When it comes to the quality of life and health of a person, we must leave behind our cultures and ensure a better, healthier, and hopefully longer life.
Social implications make this quite a difficult thing, especially when culture is coupled with a strong religious belief and religion is something we cannot overwrite.
I would love to hear your opinion on this matter in the comment section below. Let’s start a fruitful conversation on this subject, but please respect everyone within the comment section.