Scientists Find Cancer in Human Fossil

A rendered image of an ancient foot bone fragment, showing a cancerous growth extending beyond
A rendered image of an ancient foot bone fragment, showing a cancerous growth extending beyond

Cancer may not be so modern after all.

Though we typically think of it as a new affliction attributed to bad habits, bad luck or longevity, a surprising discovery has revealed that the disease existed in human ancestors more than a million years ago.

Scientists have found evidence of cancer in a foot bone and spine from two ancient hominin specimens in South Africa.

To put it in perspective, before these finds, the oldest dated possible tumor in a human was only 120,000 years old. That’s a huge difference and vastly expands our recorded timeline of the disease.

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SOURCE: CNN, AJ Willingham