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Palaeontology

Neanderthals also suffered from cancer

By T.K. Randall
June 7, 2013 · Comment icon 15 comments



Image Credit: CC 2.0 Erich Ferdinand
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.


Source: BBC News | Comments (15)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer 9 years ago
Cancer is an unwanted cell mutation. Evolution is a wanted mutation.
Comment icon #7 Posted by danielost 9 years ago
Cancer is an unwanted cell mutation. Evolution is a wanted mutation. This is true all living things have cancer cells. Those who have cancer are those whose body cannot fight it for what ever reason.
Comment icon #8 Posted by highdesert50 9 years ago
Even the simple act of grilling meat causes charring which, in turn, has been associated with higher risks of certain types of cancers. It seems, we are victims of our natural environment, our genetic mutation, and our invention.
Comment icon #9 Posted by jaguarsky 9 years ago
Nature is not pristine. While we may think of clean untouched places the truth is that there are carcinogens and outright poisons everywhere.
Comment icon #10 Posted by danielost 9 years ago
When the spanish first entered the la basin. They complained about having a hard time breathing, and their eyes vwere watering. It seems that thay had gotten hit by smog.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Frank Merton 9 years ago
Single celled organisms are little cancers. Multi-cellular life has to suppress the natural tendency of all cells to reproduce up to the carrying capacity of the environment, and the war cannot be won without eliminating the animal's ability to reproduce itself and make babies.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Odds 9 years ago
I didn't realise that Cancer was thought as a 'new' disease.
Comment icon #13 Posted by danielost 9 years ago
The human body is new ever seventh year.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Odin11 9 years ago
The human body is new ever seventh year. The 7-year cycle is a myth. It is true that individual cells have a finite life span, and when they die off they are replaced with new cells. But the rate is different depending on the type of cell. For example, fat cells are replaced at the rate of about 10% per year in adults, neurons in the cerebral cortex arenever replaced, and cardiomyocyte heart cells are replaced at a reducing rate as we age. The replacement is so slow that less than half of the cardiomyocyte cells are replaced. Those that arenít replaced have been there since birth. We are never... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by docyabut2 9 years ago
Canser, will we ever know how to stop it? We can divide a cell, clone a cell, but can`nt seem to know how to stop a cell from growing.


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