1st known tuberculosis cases in Neanderthals revealed in prehistoric bone anaylsis

Neanderthals living in Central Europe around 35,000 years ago suffered from tuberculosis (TB), a new DNA analysis of their bones reveals. This is the first time this disease has been identified in Neanderthals, raising questions about whether tuberculosis contributed to their extinction.

In two research studies published in the journal Tuberculosis in December 2023, one international team of researchers reanalyzed the skeletal remains of two Neanderthals discovered in a cave in Hungary in 1932 and another tested them for Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB.

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