Maternal secrets of our earliest ancestors unlocked

​New research brings to light for the first time the evolution of maternal roles and parenting responsibilities in one of our oldest evolutionary ancestors, Australopithecus africanus.

Australopithecus africanus impression by Jose Garcia and Renaud Joannes-Boyau

Analysis of more than two-million-year-old teeth from Australopithecus africanus fossils found in South Africa have revealed that infants were breastfed continuously from birth to about one year of age.    

An international team, led by Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute researchers Dr Luca Fiorenza and Dr Justin W. Adams and their collaborator at Southern Cross University, published the details of their research in the journal Nature today. Their finding demonstrate why early human ancestors had fewer offspring and extended parenting role. Read more.