Home Science Ancient viruses identified in Neanderthal bones

Ancient viruses identified in Neanderthal bones

by Joel Brown


Experts examined deoxyribonucleic acid sequencing data from two sets of Neanderthal remains found in the Chagyr cave. Experts were looking for traces of herpesvirus, adenovirus and HPV genomes.


As a result, remains of all three species were found. They were recognised as the oldest human viruses ever identified.

As it turned out, Neanderthals were infected with the same viruses as modern humans. For example, adenoviruses can cause symptoms ranging from muscle aches to bouts of gastroenteritis. HPVs increase the likelihood of cervical cancer. And herpes virus type 4 causes mononucleosis.

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