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Infections In Neanderthal Research

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According to an article written by Dr. Charlotte Houldcroft from the University of Cambridge, researchers have created a new study suggesting that the Neanderthals from Europe may have been infected with diseases carried out of Africa by modern humans, called Homo sapiens. Since both of the species are hominin, it would have been easy for pathogens to jump from one population to another. The article is suggesting that this new finding could have been one factor that contributed to the end of the Neanderthal population.
Researchers have been reviewing some of the latest evidence that they have gathered from pathogen genomes and DNA from ancient bones. They determined that some of the infectious diseases many be thousands of years older than
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Charlotte Houldcroft a researcher from Cambridge says that there are many types of infections that have more likely been passed from humans to Neanderthals. Some of the infections that were passed are tapeworm, tuberculosis, stomach ulcers and different types of herpes. All of the infections that are listed are chronic diseases that would have seriously weakened the immune system of the Neanderthals. Because of this it made them not as fit and not able to find food for them to eat and could have helped the process of their extinction.
Some new techniques that have been developed in the last few years means that the researchers can now see into the past of modern diseases. They can do this by being able to unravel its genetic code, and by extracting DNA from the fossils to detect traces of disease. It shows that many infectious diseases have been progressing with the human population for millions of years.
This article suggested that infectious diseases probably exploded with the beginning of agriculture. Humans that coexisted with livestock created the perfect concoction for diseases to spread. Since most diseases are thought of to be zoonosis, which is the transferring of disease from humans to animals and vice versa. For the Neanderthals who lived in small foraging groups, disease would have broken out periodically, but would have been unsuccessful in spreading very far. When agriculture came around, it gave the diseases a perfect environment to repopulate drastically.
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There is still some evidence though that humans benefited from interbreeding which helped protect them from some diseases, like bacterial sepsis and encephalitis. In turn, the humans would have been adapted to African diseases, which they would have brought with them during their migration into Europe and Asia.
A bacterium that is called Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers, is considered to have been passed on to the Neanderthals by the humans. The bacteria first started infecting the humans that lived in Africa about 88 to 116 thousand years ago. Another disease is called the herpes simplex 2, which is a virus and can cause genital herpes. There is some evidence of this disease that expresses it was transmitted to humans in Africa buy some unknown hominin species that got it from chimpanzees.
The unknown hominin species that got the virus and transmitted it between chimps and humans shows that these diseases could leap between one species to another. Since we now know that the humans intimate with the Neanderthals, all humans today carry roughly about 2 to 5% of Neanderthal DNA in them as a
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