A common STI known as human papillomaviruses (HPVs) is due to Neanderthal-Homo Sapiens coupling in the past.
Genital warts or HPV isn’t something that was brought into existence with us moderns. Various strains of this STI plagued our ancestors before modern times came along with their sexual mores.
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Neanderthals and Denisovans left Africa 500,000 years ago. Way back then, they were carrying a type of HPV. Those who remained in Africa had their own brand of HPV.
The cancerous warts remained extant in both breeds until Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens started doing the beast with two backs. That was when the disease came into its prime.
Researchers used statistical methods to gauge the evolution of HPV. Mutations which took place in the past were also noted down. HPV’s origins go back at least half a million years in the past.
How the STI spread around the world was what intrigued the scientists more than anything else. HPV16 for example is found in several regions of the world. Yet it is non-existent in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The researchers have two theories regarding this. Either early humans brought HPV with them as they exited Africa and then they split off into various factions. Or it could be that early humans caught the virus from Neanderthals and Denisovans way back in prehistoric times.
The scientists are more likely to take the second hypothesis to be the correct one. The split between Neanderthals and Denisovans and modern human beings was followed by a split in the viral population.
Interbreeding led to the sexually transmitted illness spreading all over the face of the earth. Eurasia and America were especially ideal breeding ground for the virus in human beings.
Early humans left Africa some 60,000 to 120,000 years ago. They already carried the HPV. Some of the variants of this virus were left behind in Africa and they are existent there even now.
One variant arrived in Eurasia with the hordes that came into the continent. The dangerous variety of HPV though came from the Neanderthals and Densiovans.
Homo Sapiens got infected with this deadly variety when they had sex with the Neanderthals and Denisovans. The infectious illness was transmitted throughout the population of humans and it is common even today in these progressive times.
This new study got published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.