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The only thing that stopped one massive group of cousins from humping each other? You guessed it – it just became less socially acceptable.
According to New Scientist, that’s what researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, England discovered after collecting and analyzing 86 million publicly-available profiles from Geni.com. Lead researcher Joanna Kaplanis and her team were then able to construct the world’s largest family tree, one that consists of enough branches to hold some 13 million relatives.
Now for the longest time, cousins were screwing each other and creating offspring, and the team of researchers assumed that it was because the access to transportation to use to travel somewhere else to find somebody who wasn’t related to you was pretty limited.
Well, that apparently wasn’t the case.
“Even though people started to be born further away from their families during the early 19th century, they were still marrying cousins for 50 years,” Kaplanis said. “It seems the eventual decrease in inbreeding was more to do with cultural influences. It just became less socially acceptable.”
Studying the massive family tree also allowed the team to “compare the lifespans of family members who were more distantly related and living in different towns,” but let’s be honest. You only came hear to learn about cousins hooking up.