Ancient human bones reveal virus infection 50,000 years ago

(Image credit: CDC/ Dr. G. William Gary, Jr. / Public Domain)

,- Scientists still trying to figure out why human cousins, Neanderthals, disappeared from the face of the Earth.

One of the researchers' questions is whether the virus was also involved in the extinction of ancient humans.

The team from the Federal University of Sao Paulo is trying to study it further.

And it's unbelievable they found the oldest human virus ever known in a cluster of Neanderthal bones that lived more than 50,000 years ago.

Based IFL Science on Wednesday (15/5/2024) to make this finding, the team seized DNA sequencing data from two sets of Neanderthal remains found in the Chagyrskaya cave in Russia.

In the series, they search for the remains of the genome or the entire genetic information of an organism from three types of viruses: the adenovirus, the herpes virus, and the papillomavirus.

It's unlikely that the researchers found the genome of the viruses.

This makes the virus the oldest human virus ever found, older than the virus found in the remains of Homo sapiens dating back 31,600 years.

It also suggests that it is still possible to identify fragments of the virus genome in archaeological samples.

But besides, the findings suggest that Neanderthals could have been infected with the virus.

Adenovirus, for example, can cause a variety of diseases like common cold, to severe attacks of acute gastroenteritis.

While the very common Epstein-Barr virus that can trigger mononucleosis and multiple sclerosis is included in the herpes virus.

While the papillomavirus is probably best known for its association with cervical cancer.

There's a possibility that Neanderthals are more susceptible to the three viruses and scan their health.

"Overall, our data suggests that these viruses may represent a virus that actually infects Neanderthals," study author Marcelo Briones said.

This finding does not then mean showing that the virus alone caused the extinction of Neanderthals.

But at least the findings give insight that the virus may have played a role in the extinction of Neanderthals.


Source : IFL Science

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