A new look at a cache of baby bones discovered in Britain is altering assumptions about why ancient Romans committed infanticide.
Infant girls were apparently not killed more often than baby boys, researchers report in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.
"Very often, societies have preferred male offspring, so when they practice infanticide, it tends to be the male babies that are kept, and the female babies that are killed," said study researcher Simon Mays, a skeletal biologist for English Heritage, a non-governmental organization that protects historic sites.
Though ancient Romans indeed preferred boys, there is no evidence they went as far as infanticide to skew the sex ratio, Mays told LiveScience. Read more.