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Neanderthals' Wipeout Could Be Caused By Infectious Diseases From Africa

Apr 12, 2016 07:03 AM EDT

The Neanderthals used to occupy many parts of Europe before they became extinct for thousands of years. Researchers have stated that their extinction is a result of diseases that was spread from people who migrated from Africa, as per The Guardian,

According to The Guardian, Research and investigation are being done continually to understand the extinction of Neanderthals.

The migration of many people from Africa would have been the start of many tropical diseases that have affected the Neanderthals, as per IBTimes. Though the exact dates are unknown, it's said that Neanderthals lived 40,000 years ago, and possibly lived alongside humans. Genetic evidence states that infectious diseases are tens of thousands of years old and they can jump from one species of hominin to another, Science Daily reports.

The researchers identified Helicobacter pylori as the bacterium that caused the disease to spread among the Neanderthals. According to the study, the bacterium may have caused ulcer, genital herpes, tapeworm and tuberculosis to the Neanderthals.

Houldcroft and Simon Underdown of Oxford Brookes also analyzed the spreading of diseases. They are looking into the evolution of agriculture about 8,000 years ago, which was earlier stated as the time when diseases spread from animals to humans. During this phase, humans settled with their livestock.

However, this view has been challenged and they believe that the diseases that were considered to have spread to humans from animals were actually found in humans earlier than that. With the spread of disease, the Neanderthals did not become extinct in one go. Rather, they were made weak and did not have the strength to find their food. Over time, diseases killed them, causing their wipeout.

The scientists who have been studying the Neanderthals have analyzed their diseases and stated that their situation have been catastrophic. It was also found that interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals have occurred around 100,000 years ago.

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