Oldest Known Human Viruses Discovered In 50,000-Year-Old Neanderthal Bones

Recent research by molecular scientist Marcelo Briones and his team has uncovered viral DNA fragments in 50,000-year-old Neanderthal bones from Russia’s Chagyrskaya cave. These fragments, which include adenovirus, herpesvirus, and papillomavirus, suggest that Neanderthals were susceptible to diseases that affect modern humans. This discovery offers new insights into the factors contributing to Neanderthal extinction around 40,000 years ago, including the possible role of pandemics. The study utilized advanced DNA sequencing techniques to overcome the challenges of working with degraded ancient samples. This finding enhances our understanding of human evolution and the historical impact of diseases.

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