• Sun. Aug 1st, 2021

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Ancient hominins may have needed midwives to help deliver babies

hominins

Childbirth may have been difficult for ancient hominins

CHRISTIAN JEGOU PUBLIPHOTO DIFFUSION/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

It isn’t just modern humans that have found giving birth painful and dangerous. Growing evidence suggests birth was difficult for our hominin relatives millions of years ago. As a result, earlier hominins like Australopithecus may have needed help to deliver their babies.

Birth is strikingly dangerous for modern humans compared with other primates. Globally, for every 100,000 births in 2017, 211 mothers died. In the worst-affected countries, such as South Sudan, the maternal mortality rate is more than five times that. Many nations have …