Where did cancer come from? Scientists reported news about the appearance of the disease

Cancer is considered a disease of the 21st century. Because the number of cancer patients is increasing exponentially.

Previously, people did not think about the existence of such diseases. It was believed that oncology and old age are compatible concepts. But today cancer spares no one; small children, people of childbearing age and even animals suffer from it.

The other day, Scientists reported a sensation about the emergence of a deadly disease. It turns out that cancer existed millions of years ago.

The same point of view is shared by British and African scientists who discovered in 2016 in the Swartkrans Cave (South Africa) traces of the oldest human cancer at the moment - osteosarcoma. It affected the foot and toes of Australopithecus sediba, one of the presumed ancestors of Homo sapiens, who lived about 1.7 million years ago. It is unknown what caused the death of this creature, but a bone tumor most likely prevented it from moving normally.
Australopithecus sediba leg bone affected by osteosarcoma © UCLAN/Patrick Randolph-Quinney

The mummified bodies of a man and a woman were found and were buried with gold jewelry. Kilograms of gold indicated high social status. But what shocked scientists the most were small dark dots covering almost the entire male skeleton. A number of studies were carried out to find out the nature of these points. It turned out that these were the remains of cancer cells that had broken off from the primary malignant tumor.

Traces of malignant tumors and metastases were found in Egyptian mummies buried 2250 years ago, South American Incas, ancient Romans and medieval English.

In 2013, American paleontologists identified bone cancer on the rib of a Neanderthal man found in the Croatian cave Krapina. Its age is approximately 120 thousand years. According to scientists, the tumor arose as a result of a rare disease - fibrous dysplasia, caused by a defect in the ACVR1 gene. This means that cancer was hereditary in nature, and it is likely that environmental pollution is not the main reason for the current spread of cancer, the study authors note.

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Australopithecus sediba leg bone affected by osteosarcoma © UCLAN/Patrick Randolph-Quinney Oncology was not a common disease thousands of years ago. Its development was influenced by ecology, the industrial revolution and man himself (who often does not take his health seriously).

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