Research

Why did the birth in antiquity go much easier?

The birth of a child is very joyful and at the same timeextremely painful process for mothers, which can last tens of hours. Some women compare pain during childbirth with breaking all the bones of the pelvis without anesthesia, but almost all of them later admit that having sustained pain was worth seeing your child. Meanwhile, scientists are sure that our distant ancestors did not experience this level of pain and easily gave birth within a couple of hours. To find out why it was easier for ancient people to give birth, scientists led by anthropologist Natalie Lauditsina tried to reproduce the birth process on a computer.

Australopithecus Lucy lived 3.5 million years ago and belonged to the species Australopithecus afarensis

In truth, they already knewpossible cause of mild labor. In their opinion, women began to experience hellish pain at a time when our species mastered upright posture. Vertical walking so changed the shape of our pelvis that the birth canal of women began to narrow. At the same time, the size of the heads of infants has not changed at all, and in order to squeeze through the birth canal, he needs to roll over several times in the womb.

Why is it painful to give birth?

To find out how much easier it was to give birth to oursancestors, scientists created models of the pelvic bones of ancient people of the species Australopithecus sediba, Australopithecus afarensis and Homo erectus, as well as modern female chimpanzees and humans. They also created a rounded model that resembles the head of a newborn baby in shape and size. Combining these models, they compared how easily the baby’s head passed through the birth canal.

Through the birth canal Australopithecus sediba, the baby's head passed easier than in modern women

It turned out that the birth canal of the living 1.95millions of years ago, the representative species Australopithecus sediba was wide enough for a child to pass through the canal without problems. That is, the birth process took place with a minimum of pain and within a few hours or even minutes. In modern women, in turn, the birth canal turned out to be narrower, which can explain the infernal pain during childbirth.

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Childbirth and evolution

One would think that pain during childbirthintensified during evolution, but this is not so. Yes, ancient people of the Australopithecus sediba species gave birth quickly and easily, but their ancestors - who lived a million years earlier than Australopithecus afarensis - experienced pain during childbirth. In this regard, it is still difficult for scientists to say at what stage of evolution the birth became so painful.

This is interesting: What if women were stronger than men?

To give an exact answer to this question, scientistsintend to conduct a study using more models of the pelvic bones of our ancestors. If even a new experiment does not give a clear idea of ​​the evolution of pain during childbirth, researchers will begin to look for another cause of pain - perhaps, in addition to the shape of the pelvis, other factors are involved in this matter.

In general, over time, people have not changedonly the pelvic bones, but also the face. The reason for this was both upright posture and other factors like climatic conditions and ways of eating food. About how our face has changed over millions of years, you can read in our material. Take your time and watch the video inside this article - it's amazing!