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Infections carried by ancient humans from Africa probably contributed to demise of Neanderthals
A latest study has suggested that ancient humans, who had moved out of Africa, could have infected Neanderthals with herpes. There have been a number of theories regarding demise of Neanderthals. According to the researchers of the new study, the infections brought by humans from Africa could have led to that downfall.
They have identified many types of infections that probably had made the species of hominins sick. The infections include tapeworm infection, tuberculosis, stomach ulcers, and the specifically striking disease herpes.
Study author Charlotte Houldcroft said that humans who moved out of Africa would have been a major reservoir of tropical diseases. Earlier research has suggested that modern humans and Neanderthals could have interbred on many occasions at different places.
There is evidence in the genome of the disease that shows that herpes simplex 2, the virus that leads to genital herpes, got transferred into humans living in Africa around 1.6 million years back. The origin of the virus could be from some other unknown species of hominin that had got it from chimpanzees.
Further, Houldcroft explained that as humans bred with Neanderthals and modern day humans have been carrying nearly 2% to 5% of the DNA of the Neanderthals, it makes sense to assume that the herpes virus might have got transmitted between the species.
The chronic diseases linked to the human migration from Africa majorly might have decreased the Neanderthals’ distinct living capabilities. The diseases could have made the species weak in terms of their hunter-gatherer abilities, due to which there weren’t able to find to stay alive. This could be the boosted the eventual demise of the Neanderthals.
A person may experience painful genital sores because of Genital herpes. The ones who had suppressed immune systems would have experienced worse conditions.
The transfer of the herpes virus might have taken place from one person to another through coming in direct contact with the sores or its fluids.