Date:

Over 120,000-year-old bone tumor in Neandertal specimen found

Micrograph showing fibrous dysplasia with the characteristic thin, irregular (Chinese character-like) bony trabeculae and fibrotic : Wiki Commons

Croatian rib of a Neandertal reveals ancient example of now-common bone tumor

The first case of a bone tumor of the ribs in a Neanderthal specimen reveals that at least one Neanderthal suffered a cancer that is common in modern-day humans, according to research published June 5 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by David Frayer from the University of Kansas and colleagues from other institutions.

This discovery of a fibrous dysplasia predates previous evidence of this tumor by well over 100,000 years. Prior to this research, the earliest known bone cancers occurred in samples approximately 1000-4000 years old.

- Advertisement -

The cancerous rib, recovered from Krapina in present-day Croatia is an incomplete specimen, and thus the researchers were unable to comment on the overall health effects the tumor may have had on this individual. Fibrous dysplasia in modern-day humans occurs more frequently than other bone tumors, but Frayer says that, “Evidence for cancer is extremely rare in the human fossil record. This case shows that Neandertals, living in an unpolluted environment, were susceptible to the same kind of cancer as living humans.”

Neanderthals had average life spans that were likely to be half those of modern humans in developed countries, and were exposed to different environmental factors. The study concludes, “Given these factors, cases of neoplastic disease are rare in prehistoric human populations. Against this background, the identification of a more than 120,000-year-old Neandertal rib with a bone tumor is surprising, and provides insights into the nature and history of the association of humans to neoplastic disease.”

Contributing Source : Public Library of Science

HeritageDaily : Palaeontology News : Palaeontology Press Releases

- Advertisement -
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

Mobile Application

spot_img

Related Articles

Study uses satellite imagery to identify over 1,000 Andean hillforts

A new study, published in the journal Antiquity, uses satellite imagery to survey hillforts known as pukaras in the Andean highlands.

Roman defensive spikes unveiled at the Leibniz Centre for Archaeology

In 2023, archaeologists from Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main uncovered a series of wooden defensive spikes during excavations of a 1st century AD Roman fort in Bad Ems, western Germany.

Obsidian blade linked to Coronado’s expedition to find the fabled city of gold

Archaeologists suggest that a flaked-stone obsidian blade could be linked to the expedition led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado to search for the fabled city of gold.

Clay seal stamp from First Temple period found in Jerusalem

Archaeologists have discovered a clay seal stamp from the First Temple period during excavations in the Western Wall Plaza, Jerusalem.

Offering of human sacrifices found at Pozo de Ibarra

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have uncovered an offering of human sacrifices at the Mexican town of Pozo de Ibarra.

Excavation uncovers preserved wooden cellar from Roman period

Archaeologists from the Frankfurt Archaeological Museum have uncovered a well-preserved wooden celler in Frankfurt, Germany.

Preserved temples from the Badami Chalukya era found in India

Archaeologists from the Public Research Institute of History, Archaeology, and Heritage (PRIHAH) have announced the discovery of two temples dating from the Badami Chalukya era.

Excavation of medieval shipbuilders reveals a Roman head of Mercury

Excavations of a medieval shipbuilders has led to the discovery of a Roman settlement and a Roman head of Mercury.