Monday, April 11, 2016
Neanderthals may have died of diseases carried by humans from Africa
Diseases and infections passed on by the ancestors of modern humans when they moved out of Africa and into Europe may have helped wipe out the Neanderthals who previously dominated the continent.
The unfortunate Neanderthals, who would only have developed resistance to the diseases of their European environment, are most likely to have been infected with a bacterium that causes stomach ulcers, the virus that causes genital herpes, tapeworms and tuberculosis.
The impact on the Neanderthals was described as catastrophic by the scientists behind the new research, who published their findings in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. The diseases and infections to which the hunter-gatherers were exposed would have made them less able to find enough food and remain healthy. The diseases would have spread through sexual contact between the two species.
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