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Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon.
Flickr/Photo by Sam Wise. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Ancient baby boom was greater than modern birthrates

The biggest baby boom on Earth didn’t occur after World War II, but may have happened more than 1000 years ago, the Los Angeles Times reports. Archaeologists who studied the remains of more than 10,000 Native Americans in the Southwest have estimated that their birthrates were about six or seven children per woman. That’s much higher than today’s U.S. rate of one or two children per woman. The ancient population increase, described online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is a sign of the shift from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a sedentary one, in which it’s easier to put down roots and raise a family.

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