A group of researchers has uncovered skeletal remains in Mongolia which has helped them understand how the people developed at the time.

The research, published in the journal HOMO, saw a team from University Auckland, the Natural History Museum in Washington and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences examine the remains of 25 individuals in the Hovsgol subdivision of northern Mongolia. The bones found reportedly date back to about 2,700 to 3,500 years ago.

In the study, the bones showed some signs of diseases linked with malnutrition, including rickets, scurvy and generalized osteoporosis. Cultural and demographic shifts may have caused a wider spread of the diseases in later generations of Mongolians.

One of the samples belonging to a male showed signs of interpersonal conflicts, including cuts or other wounds that were evident on the skeleton along with blunt force trauma signs.

In addition, some degeneration of the spine was seen in the skeletons, which is common with old age but also linked with horseback riding. Other signs of injuries that were consistent with falling while riding horses were also found in the samples.

Sarah Karstens, the lead researcher of the study, said that while the sample size is small, she explained that the remains help them see the time periods where the cultural identity was being formed in Mongolia, such as their nomadic pastoral lifestyle and ceremonialism.