Paleontologists find malignant tumor on little toe bone of left foot that’s 1.7 million years old
Scientists’ normal opinion regarding cancer was that it’s a comparatively recent phenomenon caused by the modern life’s stresses. They said that dietary changes, behavioral alterations, and manmade changes in the environment have exposed humans to toxins leading to cancers.
But the assumption has been challenged by latest findings from researchers at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand. The findings have appeared in the South African Journal of Science.
Paleontologists have discovered a kind tumor in a 12 or 13-year-old boy specimen, dating back to nearly 2 million years. The noteworthy thing is that they have also discovered a malignant tumor on a small toe bone of 1.7 million years old left foot. Earlier, the oldest found human cancer dated back to 780,000 and 120,000 years ago.
The discoveries, made with the help of new 3D imaging methods, have prompted a few scientists to reconsider the role tumors played in the history of early human ancestors.
As per National Geographic, the earliest discussion of cancer came from Egyptian physician Imhotep, who explained in his writings a ‘bulging at the breast’ that was irresponsive to any existing remedies.
The study said that things go wrong within our bodies that aren’t linked to stresses brought on by society, such as smoking and pollution. In fact, millions of years back, they at times led to tumors or growths that have or haven’t been probably cancerous.
One of the study’s authors, Patrick Randolph-Quinney, said, “The evidence is out there that these conditions have been with us a long time and we’ve been kind of hoodwinked that cancer is modernity. These things are ancient”.
The study argued that longevity was the greatest predictor of cancer even in our ancestors. The longer an individual lives, the more he is vulnerable to experience something wrong in his body, and thus more are the chances that something is a tumor.