The common cold could predate modern humans by hundreds of thousands of years, according to scientists.
DNA from traces of adenovirus C which was found in a pair of 31,000-year-old teeth suggests the bug, one of many viruses associated with the common cold, is far older than modern human beings.
In fact, it probably gave Neanderthals the sniffles more than 700,000 years ago.
The teeth, uncovered in Siberia in 2019, were examined by a team of microbiologists at Denmark's University of Copenhagen, who found microscopic strains of several well-known human infections—including human adenovirus C and herpes simplex-1, the virus that causes cold sores.
It's the oldest known evidence of viral infections found in human beings, according to New Scientist. Previous proof of an identifiable virus in a homo sapien dates back just 7,000 years.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
According to the researchers, who published their work in the non-peer-reviewed pre-print site BioRXiv, comparing the ancient strain of adenovirus to modern strains suggests their common ancestor emerged between 487,000 and 963,000 years ago, with a best estimate of about 702,000 years ago.
It's 'the oldest virus in humans yet,' lead author Sofie Holtsmark Nielsen, a microbiologist at Denmark's University of Copenhagen, told New Scientist.
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Researchers at the University of Copenhagen were able to retrieve DNA from several viruses from 31,000-year-old baby teeth found in Siberia. Among them were four strains of herpes and human adenovirus C, which is associated with the common cold
The hepatitis B virus has been infecting people since at least the Bronze Age, according to a 2019 study in the journal Nature, which found the virus in 4,500-year-old remains in Mongolia.
As for a bacterial infections, the earliest known case of tuberculosis dates to around 17,000 years ago—but it was a bison in Wyoming.
Known tubercular decay in humans dates from 5,000 years ago, found in the spine of some Egyptian mummies.
Nielsen and her colleagues analyzed DNA taken from baby teeth found buried deep in a remote archaeological site near the Siberia's Yana River.
The choppers, a pair of children's baby teeth, were estimated to be 31,000 years old.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The discovery made headlines because the teeth appeared to belong to a heretofore unknown