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 mothers breastfed their infants for the first 12 months after birth, and continued to supplement their diets with breastmilk during periods of food shortage. Tooth chemistry analyses enable scientists to 'read' more than two-million-year-old teeth. Finding demonstrates why early human ancestors had fewer offspring and extended parenting role.