Scientists have discovered signs of bone cancer in the 120,000-year-old remains of a Neanderthal.
Up until now the oldest known incidents of cancer were in the bones of ancient Egyptians dating back around 4,000 years. The discovery of cancer in a Neanderthal dating back 120,000 years turns our understanding of the history of cancer on its head and shows that the disease existed at a time when the Earth was relatively unpolluted and when modern-age carcinogenics were nowhere to be found.
"It's the oldest tumour found in the human fossil record," said anthropologist Dr David Frayer. "It shows that living in a relatively unpolluted environment doesn't necessarily protect you against cancer, even if you were a Neanderthal living 120,000 years ago."
"A Neanderthal living 120,000 years ago had a cancer that is common today, according to a fossil study."
View: Full article | Source: BBC News
Discuss: View comments (15)