A fossil study has found clues to the origin of cancer in the remains of a Neanderthal man who lived 120,000 years ago.
Researchers have found evidence of bone tumor in a rib bone found in a shallow cave at Krapina, Croatia. The site has yielded 900 human bones previously and some stone tools were also unearthed here.
Dr David Frayer, the University of Kansas anthropologist who was the leader of the US team, said that this was the oldest tumor found in the human fossil record. "It shows that living in a relatively unpolluted environment doesn't necessarily protect you against cancer, even if you were a Neanderthal living 120,000 years ago," Dr Frayer said.
The presence of the tumor was confirmed by X-rays and CT scans. The study details appear in the latest issue of the journal PLOS One.