A key component in building a strong, forward-looking lineage is having plenty of new offsprings to continue into the next generation. In Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, though, it isn’t the simplest thing to figure out how to form a new couple and undergo the process of mating. Still, you’ll be doing it enough in the game that it’ll eventually become second nature. Not only is this helpful for gaining new clan members, it’s also essential when trying to build neuronal energy, unlock genetic mutations, and evolve into future hominin.
Finding compatible mates
The first thing you’ll want to do in Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is find a pair of compatible mates. You can go into the pause menu and see if the clan member that you’re playing as is either a male or a female. Once you know your gender, you will need to find a mate of the opposite gender. This is easily done by approaching another clan member and analyzing them to learn their gender. The female must be fertile (which you will see when you analyze them, or in the pause menu if you are playing as the female), which means she has to be at the adult stage and cannot be an elder yet. However, an elder male can still produce an offspring with a fertile adult female if you’re out of eligible adult males.
How to groom
Next, you need to establish the two clan members as a couple. We’re not quite at the stage in history where you would get a cup of coffee or see a movie together to do this. Rather, it’s much simpler in Ancestors. Approach your soon-to-be mate and hold down the ‘B’ button (if using a controller) when they are outlined in white. This will start the grooming process. As you are grooming, you will hear a snipping sound. When this sound plays, let go of the ‘B’ button. If done successfully, a meter at the top of the screen will start to fill up. If done incorrectly, your subject will flair their arms around in a disapproving manner. After you’ve groomed them enough, you’ll be updated that they have become a couple.
How to build a bed
For a couple to mate, they have to be laying down on a bed made from the yellow Natal Grass Cycad (seen in the picture below). What, you thought they were just going to do it in the dirt like animals (wait a minute…)? Early settlements have a sleeping area already set up (and if so, you can skip this part). However, if you can’t find one, you’ll have to make it yourself. This is super easy to do, though the game doesn’t really tell you how to do it.
First, you’ll need to gather some branches from the Natal Grass Cycad. They are plentiful in Ancestors’ recreation of ancient Africa. You can use your Intelligence sense (‘Y’ on the controller) to locate these. Pick them off the branch and take them to where you want to set up the sleep spot.
Next, drop the grass on the ground. Go grab some more and bring it back. When you get close enough to the grass you’ve already dropped, you will see an option to ‘Add to Pile.’ Go ahead and add it on. You’ll have to do this a few more times until you see the ‘Start Construction’ option popup by the stack. Unlocking nodes will allow you to build settlement constructions with fewer items.
How to mate
With a comfy new bed made, you can mate with your partner and produce the next generation in your Ancestors lineage. Stand on top of the bed and press ‘A’ to lie down. If you’ve formed a couple with another clan member, you can call them over to the bed with you using ‘B’. Once they have come over and lain down with you, hold ‘B’ to mate. If this is successful (and it should always be, unless the female is not fertile or the partners are the same gender), the female will become pregnant. Hold down ‘B’ again to give birth to a new clan member! Each couple can have a maximum of two babies before the female is no longer fertile.
Keep an eye on the top right corner, as babies are often born with unique genetic mutations that unlock when they reach adulthood. I usually start out by making sure that my clan has produced the maximum number of offsprings. That way, if any adults are killed, you won’t lose the chance to have a larger clan during the next generation. I’d also recommend that your clan members have as many babies as they can, spanning several generations, before you initiate an evolution. Having more babies gives more evolution score, making your odyssey a little faster.
Be sure to check out our other Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey guides to learn to survive and thrive!