A lot of people tend to believe that cancer is caused by toxins and poisons produced by the developed world. However, these fossils show that 1.7 million years ago, cancer was already a bane to humanity!
In fact, 120,000 years ago, there was a Neanderthal from Krapina in Croatia who suffered from neoplasia. And now, there’s a new discovery http://sajs.co.za/earliest-hominin-cancer-1-7-million-year-old-osteosarcoma-swartkrans-cave-south-africa/edward-j-odes-patrick-s-randolph-quinney-maryna-steyn-zach-throckmorton-jacqueline-s-smilg-bernhard in two South African cave sites that show evidence of cancer in our human ancestors dating back to 1.7 million years ago.
The world’s oldest discovered tumor was found on a Neanderthal from Krapina, Croatia.
The research involves two teams of scientists who specialize in human evolutionary anatomy, modern diseases, and the latest medical and research-based imaging techniques to study just how healthy (or unhealthy) our ancestors were, alongside what types of diseases commonly plagued them. They did this by combining the work of scientists who focus on dry or fossil bone with medical specialists who diagnose living humans.
Watch the video here:
Their discoverey is the earliest evidence of neoplastic disease (a.k.a the collective terms of cancer and tumors) in humans. However, it must be noted that much older tumors and cancers have been observed in fossils of non-hominins. In addition to that, other species can also get cancer.
A fossilized bone of a hominin child has evidence of the oldest malignant tumor.
In fact, the earliest case of benign neoplasia is an osteoma (or a new piece of bone growing from another piece of bone) from 300 million years ago in a fossil fish in North America! Later on, it was discovered that even Jurassic dinosaurs, Cretaceous hadrosaurs, and later European mammoths could also get benign tumors. And the earliest true cancer was found on a theropod dinosour from the late Jurassic era in Utah, USA.
In conclusion, while it’s true that the rates of tumor growth and cancer development is greatly sped up by environmental toxins and our modern lifestyle, it should be noted that these diseases have existed in the past, though to a lesser extent.
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