The oldest genetically identifiable nuclear family met a violent death, according to analysis of remains from 4,600-year-old burials in Germany.

Writing in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), researchers say the broken bones of these stone age people show they were killed in a struggle.

Comparisons of DNA from one grave confirm it contained a mother, father, and their two children.

The son and daughter were buried in the arms of their parents.

Dr Wolfgang Haak, from The Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, in Adelaide, conducted the DNA analysis. He says the scientific evidence supports the idea that they were indeed a family.

"We're really sure, based on hard biological facts not just supposing or assuming."

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