When or if one chooses to have children is a monumental life decision that takes into account age, fertility, occupation, family, and circumstances.
But historically, 27 is the age people are most likely to have offspring, a new study has revealed.
Homo sapiens emerged as a species in Africa around 300,000 years ago, and researchers at Indiana University have used DNA mutations to track when a new generation has arisen over the last 250,000 years.
“Through our research on modern humans, we have noticed that we can predict the age at which people will have children based on the types of DNA mutations they have left behind for their children,” said study co-author Prof. Matthew Hahn.
“We then applied this model to our human ancestors to determine at what age our ancestors reproduced.”
Each child inherits half of their DNA from their mother and half from their father, but each acquires between 25 and 75 new mutations.
The analysis of thousands of samples showed that the types and types of mutations a child receives from his parents depend on the age at which the parents reproduced.
DNA analysis showed that people had an average of 26.9 years of age children. The data shows that the average age was 31 for men and 23 for women.
Over the past 100 generations, the average generation length has skyrocketed to 30 years, and the average maternal age is now 26.4 years.
“The times of the human generation have undergone a surge”
They add that in recent history, the average age of parents was the youngest (25 years old) around 6,400 years ago, when civilization and agriculture began.
“The results show that human generation times have undergone a surge in the recent past after declining for more than a thousand generations,” the researchers wrote in their study published in Science Advances.
“The average human generational interval was last a minimum of 24.9 years 250 generations ago (6,400 years ago), roughly concurrent with the historical rise of early civilizations.
“It previously fell off its peak 29.8 years 1,400 generations ago (38,000 years ago), just before the start of the Last Glacial Maximum.”
The analysis also showed that men have always been older than women when it comes to having children.
Differences were also observed depending on the place of residence of the population. For example, Europeans have the highest generational gap in the last period studied, reaching more than 30 years.
“The results of our genetic analysis confirm some things we knew from other sources (such as the recent increase in parental age), but also offer a richer understanding of the demographics of ancient people,” said study co-author Dr. Richard Wang.
“These findings contribute to a better understanding of our shared history.”