In the course of a new study, scientists have found that the common cold arose on Earth 500 thousand years before the appearance of Homo sapiens. Experts suggest that Neaderthals were still suffering from it.
In new work, scientists analyzed children’s milk teeth, which are more than 30 thousand years old. Researchers have found traces of DNA from several common viruses. Among them was adenovirus C, which is responsible for the common cold. Thus, he is much older than modern humans. Most likely, the virus appeared on Earth more than 700,000 years ago and the ancestors of Homo sapiens, the Neanderthals, suffered from the common cold.
This is the oldest known evidence of viral infections found in humans. Previously, scientists believed that adenovirus C originated only 7,000 years ago.
According to the researchers, a comparison of the ancient strain of adenovirus with modern strains suggests that their common ancestor appeared between 487 and 963 thousand years ago, and most likely – 702 thousand years ago.
In their work, biologists studied teeth discovered in Siberia in 2019.