The Role of Diseases in the Extinction of Neanderthals


Added on  2019-09-21

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Health and Healing in Prehistoric TimesNeanderthals became extinct 20000-30000 years back. They are the species of archaic human. These species were spread across Europe, Asia and Middle East. Neanderthals had a caring feeling and strong social bond among each other towards each other. Neanderthal was genetically different from Homo sapiens (Present day modern human). They had different phenotype from the modern day human. From the skeletons found it has been seen that they looked stocky, barrel-chested and brutish. The Neanderthals health has been a topic to study. Some of their genetics has been passed on to us. Neanderthals originated in Africa. From there they spread to rest of the globe. They eventually had kids with the Homo sapiens. Hence our genetic has some part of Neanderthal genes. From this there, health can be studied. For example- Neanderthal gene shows a better version of blood clotting genes. This was helpful to them in healing. This helped them in gaining quick recovery after wound and cuts which were very common in their times. They had better chances of survival. Neanderthals are our closest relatives. Once they must have cross breed with a human. Through genetic study on modern humans, it has been found out that Neanderthal had DNA which caused skin cells to grow.This is known as keratinocytes. These usually protect them from sun and ultraviolet rays. From the there genetic study it has been found that Neanderthal DNA has increased the risk of various life threatening factors like stroke, miscarriage etc. Neanderthal genes were also susceptible to depression. Also, our tendency towards tobacco addiction is also taken from our Neanderthal cousins. We have found 12 traits in Neanderthals including the tendency of immune issues , heart attack and other blood disorder which is present in modern day human. Hypercoagulability is a feature of Neanderthal blood. In this, the blood coagulates very fast. It prevents the entryof microbes in the wound. The faster the wound closes lesser are the chances of infection. But as this hypercoagulation was blessing in Neanderthal times, it also causes increased risk of stroke, embolism and complicated pregnancy in the modern age. As in those times, there was no treatment available for these diseases Neanderthals had very lower life expectancy. Sickle cell anaemia is a hereditary condition. It is quite possible that these genetic conditions evolved to protect our ancestors from the worse medical
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condition. It could cost them their life. This genetic condition took thousands of years to evolve. Sickle cell anaemia is a very severe health condition which the red blood cells took a curved crescent-like shape. This affects the oxygen carrying capacity of the cell. This condition also protects from malaria. It was deadly in those times. Sickle cells keep the malaria parasite out from the blood.It does not allow the malaria parasite to survive. This condition mainly affects people of African, Caribbean, middle eastern and Asian origin. Malaria is an ever present danger in these geographies. Schistosomiasis , this is also known as snail fever. This is caused by parasites known as schistosomes. The disease is mainly caused when there is contact with contaminated fresh water with this parasite. It is called snail fever because these parasites are released from infected snails into the fresh water streams. This generally causes bloody stools and diarrhoea. Like any other race. Neanderthal also developed and hunted in the banks of the river. From the river, they used to get food and drinkable water. As there was no concept of water treatment in those times there were many water-borne diseases prevalent. They used to drink this water causing them infection by this parasite. Although Neanderthals have spread almost all parts of the world. But this disease condition was prevalent in ones living on the banks of rivers. Trypanosomiasis , it is the name of several diseases , it is caused by protozoa. This is the cause of many diseases in modern human and Neanderthals. This is caused by the bite of the tsetse fly. After that, there is the development of red chancre sore. The person experiences fever, swollen lymph nodes and bloody urine. This is very common on the African continent. In the next stage of this deadly disease, there are alterations in human personality. There is a severe effect on the biological clock. There can be seizures and also difficulty in walking and talking. This disease was very common in Neanderthals. There is no such prevention of this disease. It has caused many early deaths in their race. There was no appropriate treatment of this disease. Once infected there was no way for escape from this disease. Tsetse flies were quite common in those days. There was one way for prevention i.e. to control the disease was fly control. Once the population of flies has checked the disease subdued itself.
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