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World's Oldest Tumor Found In a Neanderthal Bone

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the first-isn't-always-best dept.

Medicine 46

First time accepted submitter minty3 writes "A fibrous dysplasia tumor has been found in the bone of a Neanderthal that is more than 120,000 years old. The world's oldest tumor in a Neanderthal rib was part of a collection of bones, which were excavated more than 100 years ago from a site in Krapina, Croatia. They were X-rayed in the 1980s, and initially didn't reveal the tumor. It was only when scientists took a closer look at a radiograph where a rib fragment appeared to be 'burned out' did they return to the rib and subject it to higher quality scans."

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Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (5, Informative)

cunniff (264218) | about a year ago | (#43931745)

Paleontologists have found 150-million-year-old dino tumors, see http://www.livescience.com/4013-dinosaur-tumor-studied-human-cancer-clues.html [livescience.com]

The university is welcoming four renowned curators from Carnegie Museum into its classrooms to teach seminars and use the museum collection, which is considered one of the world's premiere displays of natural history artifacts, for demonstrations. Included in the collection is a 150-million-year-old fossilized dinosaur bone complete with a tumor.

I would not be surprised if there are even older amphibian tumor fossils out there somewhere.

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (1)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about a year ago | (#43931847)

Humans are the only species that matters though.

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43931933)

Humans are the only species that matters though.

Humans ... who are Americans.

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43932107)

Humans are the only species that matters though.

Humans ... who are Americans.

You needn't be so redundant, it's not as though there are non-American humans, so why belabor the obvious?

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43933463)

Humans are the only species that matters though.

Humans ... who are Americans.

You needn't be so redundant, it's not as though there are non-American humans, so why belabor the obvious?

So what about all the non-human hominids in America?

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43932885)

Introduced Americans or Native Americans?

What you'll find is that the introduced type significantly more defective.

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about a year ago | (#43932989)

Introduced Americans or Native Americans?

What you'll find is that the introduced type significantly more defective.


Oh, you mean Europeans?

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43933663)

As a European I still appreciate an excellent response.

Well played Sir.

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43934033)

That's because the former only came to America 100,000 years after coming to existence in this world, whereas the latter came there mere 90,000 years after appearing. Clearly you can see how important that difference is.

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43937393)

What you'll find is that the introduced type significantly more defective.

Maybe this is only true of the ones that will introduce themselves to you?

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43932345)

Genus, not species, this article isn't talking about Homo sapiens.

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (4, Informative)

Langalf (557561) | about a year ago | (#43932397)

Well, that depends on who you talk to. One grouping has them as "Homo sapiens neanderthalensis".

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (3, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | about a year ago | (#43932733)

That is not a tumor, that is evidence of a tumor. As you are pointing to a fossil and not actual bone, the actual tumor is long gone.

Here we have actual bones, and an actual tumor.

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43934053)

Well, technically, these are also "just fossils". A living bone is not a piece of rock. A 100,000 old Neandethal remain *is* a piece of rock. Most of the organic tissue is gone, perhaps with some really minute traces remaining, but tumors are not made of calcium minerals and therefore you won't find them anyway.

Re:Oldest *hominid* tumor, maybe (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43933391)

I have you beat [uni-muenchen.de] . Root nodules on plants are essentially the same as warts (benign tumours), except the plant actually gets something out of it (mostly nitrogen fixation.)

Well, well, well... (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43931771)

Looks like the paleo diet didn't work for Grok after all...

Re:Well, well, well... (4, Funny)

simonbp (412489) | about a year ago | (#43933133)

Obviously, it was caused the paleolithic nuclear reactor Grok was working at. They had very primitive safety systems.

Re:Well, well, well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43934251)

Grok: I am make science. I am put glowy rock in water.
Oog: You go too far! No control nature!
Grok: No! Am cook food!
[Everything starts mutating.]
Grok: Me go too far! [dresdencodak.com]

Re:Well, well, well... (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | about a year ago | (#43936187)

Funny! But as an aside, there actually was a natural nuclear reactor found in Africa [wikipedia.org]

interview (4, Funny)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43931797)

When questioned, the Neanderthal said, "It's naht ah tumah!" and then ran off to fornicate with his housemaid.

Re:interview (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43931993)

Is your plan to see how many limp jokes you can put out there until someone mods you up? You're a royal fucking bore but I see your name attached to every other post I see. Your jokes suck and your tech posts looks like they come from a Geek Squad supervisor.

Re:interview (1, Offtopic)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43932093)

yes, that is indeed the plan. now clip your tie back on, get back into your little Volkswagen and scare up some work, geek!

There's also good news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43931879)

The doctor finally has time to see this patient next Friday.

Re:There's also good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43932995)

I am afraid he is dead... Can deadness still be cured?

Krapina, Croatia (1, Redundant)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#43931967)

I just googled "Krapina, Croatia", there really is such a place, and now I want to go there to visit.

Another "todo" for my bucket list!

Re:Krapina, Croatia (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year ago | (#43932617)

Krapina bucket?

Re:Krapina, Croatia (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about a year ago | (#43932745)

If you're going to Krapina, you may as well Krapina bucket

Re:Krapina, Croatia (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#43935453)

Maybe that's the place where they write all their "great" software?

Not Possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43932011)

The earth is only 5000 years old lol...

Re:Not Possible (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year ago | (#43935427)

Probably those Croatians wrote the program which calculated the age of the sample themselves...

Hey, it was lousy diet and smoking! (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year ago | (#43932091)

What if *you* ate a diet almost exclusively of charred red meat over a fire whose smoke you inhaled for several hours a day while you cooked?t
Not to mention the herbs they threw on the fire and inhaled for entertainment.

Wrong idea about diet (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#43933447)

As far as I'm aware, Neanderthals were in fact quite hungry a lot of the time and didn't eat meat every day. They were going by on daily fruits, nuts and vegetables and only had meat when the hunt was successful.

They saw it when they found the fossilized post-it (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43932379)

It was the appointment reminder from his doctor for next week.

Neanderthals had (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#43932457)

Car insurance from Geico, but no health insurance.

(Until the implementation of ObamaCare of course)

Not that old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43932661)

Clearly the X-rays from the 80s caused the tumor to develop.

Seems like cancer is not so "man made" after all (0)

grungeman (590547) | about a year ago | (#43932961)

Just recently there was a "scientific study" that claimed that cancer was caused by the excesses of modern life. They claimed this only on the fact that they could not find any cancer in egyptian mummies.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1320507/Cancer-purely-man-say-scientists-finding-trace-disease-Egyptian-mummies.html [dailymail.co.uk]

Well, those pseudo scientists certainly got their well deserved "Grog's Revenge".

Re:Seems like cancer is not so "man made" after al (3, Informative)

codeButcher (223668) | about a year ago | (#43933719)

Seems like cancer is not so "man made" after all

Disclaimer: I'm not a healthcare professional, but I sometimes do play one on the internet... (In fact, I do like to read a lot about keeping myself healthy, both from conventional sources and alternatives ones.)

What I believe (in other words, YMMV) about cancer follows along the following lines: All people have some cancer cells inside their bodies, floating around like "seeds". Mostly, people's immune systems are able to cope with these cells and dispose of them before they can develop. However, due to a variety of factors (genetics, diet, environmental pollution, etc.) immune systems in some people are not able to cope at some stage and the cells develop into a tumor.

It's a matter of statistics. Not all people following a modern western diet and lifestyle will develop cancer, as not all prehistoric people on a paleo diet would be cancer-free. But what is seen is that there is a substantial increase in cancer developing on certain aspects of modern "factory" diet and lifestyle.

So, no, cancer is not "man made", but modern greater susceptibility to it may well be "man caused".

One would assume that prehistoric people would be selected (micro-evolution) in such a way that they would perform best with their given environment and diet. (If one is a creationist, for the sake of the argument one can assume that people where created to function the best on specific types of food, also created for the purpose.) However, modern times have brought about great population movements, rapid urbanisation, and other environmental changes through industry, mining, chemistry etc. We have also seen a rapid change in diets and foodstuffs. The assumption is that innovation can be roughly quantified along exponential growth curves. I wonder if at a certain stage we have, or are bound to, pass the threshold where natural selection can not keep up with the pace of innovation for any given tech. In the mean time, people getting sick and dying from modern "lifestyle diseases" (or not getting out of the basements and producing offfspring) is simply natural selection for the newly changed environment that people find themselves in in their lifetimes. (Or the inevitable pre-programmed consequences of leaving God's ordained will as evident from natural creation.)

I, for one, am of the opinion that I should use the larger amount of control I have over resources and time, as brought about by modern tech (and a fairly good-paying job in IT), to back-modify my own environment to mitigate the effects of some of the rapid changes. In practice this involves acquiring a small parcel of land where I can raise food crops for my own use, use modern tech, e.g. irrigation timers and power tools, to remove a lot of the time consuming and back-breaking labor out of it (while still retaining some manual labour as my body does need, and thrives on, some amount of exertion), use modern information sources (Internet) to benefit this endeavour as well as to obtain seeds and other materials that would otherwise not be obtainable in my immediate vicinity.

Re:Seems like cancer is not so "man made" after al (1)

Smauler (915644) | about a year ago | (#43938309)

It's a matter of statistics. Not all people following a modern western diet and lifestyle will develop cancer, as not all prehistoric people on a paleo diet would be cancer-free. But what is seen is that there is a substantial increase in cancer developing on certain aspects of modern "factory" diet and lifestyle.

The life expectancy of people in prehistoric times was about 30 on average. Not many people get cancer before they are 30. The one major thing that means we are more likely to get cancer than people in prehistoric times is the fact we live longer.

There's also evidence of very poor diets in prehistoric times, eg rickets and other vitamin deficiencies. I'll take my chances, to be honest... I've already lasted 5 years longer than the average prehistoric man.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43932977)

Reddit chiseled this on a rock 50,000 years ago.

What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43934525)

McCain, why does he not count?

Proof it's the oldest tumor (1)

MiniMike (234881) | about a year ago | (#43937549)

The key proof that that this is the oldest tumor is that on the wall above where the remains were found, hastily chiseled into the side of the cave, were the words "Frist Tum0r!!11!!!!"

A world's record! (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year ago | (#43937639)

Here we are, deep into the age-determination threads, and nobody's yet posted that it couldn't be a 100k year old tumor because the Earth's only 6k . What's wrong with /. this Friday that such a thing could happen?

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