Scientific Surprise. Neanderthals Had Bone Cancer

Scientific Surprise. Neanderthals Had Bone Cancer
Isabel del Rio

Scientific Surprise. Neanderthals Had Bone Cancer Too. According to a study of a team directed by David Frayer (University of Kansas), a Neanderthal from 120,000 years ago suffered from this disease.


Neandertal skull from La Chapelle aux Saints. PLoS

During this week, I have been reading the scientific surprise of June: David Frayer (University of Kansas, US) has published in the magazine Plos One that a Neanderthal from 120,000 years ago had bone cancer.

Why not? I would ask. Dogs and cats have cancer too and I supposed that the first Homo Sapiens Sapiens, those ones who painted Altamira caves, had cancers too. However, it seems that Prehistoric people had few cancers because they lived in an environment less contaminated or at least, that’s what they thought until now.

‘This case demonstrates that Neanderthals, who live in a clean environment, were susceptible to the same type of cancer as humans living today,’ Frayer and his team insist.

Neanderthals lived less than current people (probably half) and as hunters, most of them died in accidents. Then, they didn’t have time of developing so many cancers as current Western people but their genetic was quite similar to ours. In fact, recent studies claim that we carry their genes because cross-species was possible.

The cancer found in this Neanderthal’s rib demonstrates, once again, our relation with the rest of species. We are not as different as we wanted, we are part of the Nature and we should be more humble and care for our brothers.

Nobody knows why Neanderthal disappeared. Maybe for a climatic change or because our specie killed them. But maybe they lived inside us, in this way to the future that we call evolution.

Have a nice day, Yareah Magazine friends. Enjoy this wonderful weekend. Art is everywhere!

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Isabel del Rio

Managing Editor at Yareah® Magazine. Author of ‘Ariza’ (2008) and ‘The Girls of Oil’ (2010)

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