If correct, the latter relationship would indicate an interbirth interval of around 3 y for Neandertals.

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So although it is consistent with the data, I think it is very weak evidence.

Still, it’s a lot more evidence that I expected to have anytime soon.

Moreover, it seems to me that the birth interval is testable with reference to dental development.

have a new analysis of the mitochondrial DNA from El Sidrón, Spain.

The site has a minimum number of 12 Neandertal specimens, dating to 49,000 years ago.

The authors recovered mt DNA from all of the skeletal individuals, and additionally tested for the presence of Y chromosome to diagnose sex.

They found that all the adult males in the sample are close maternal relatives – that is, they all share a single mt DNA haplotype.

In contrast, the adult females and juveniles have a range of different haplotypes.

Using some conclusions about the archaeological context (discussed below), they interpret the 12 individuals as part (possibly all) of a kin-structured group.

They note that the relationships are then consistent with a patrilocal residence pattern: The men in the group are linked by kinship, the women have come from other kin networks, possibly transferred from other groups.

In the last paragraph of the paper, the authors suggest a further conclusion about life history: Based on the ages of the El Sidrn group members and their mt DNA lineages, we speculate that juvenile 2 is the offspring (or close matrilineal relative) of female adult 5 and that juvenile 1 and the infant are the offspring of female adult 4.