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Possible vertebral brucellosis infection in a Neanderthal


Rothschild, Bruce; Haeusler, Martin (2021). Possible vertebral brucellosis infection in a Neanderthal. Scientific Reports, 11:19846.

Abstract

The La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1 skeleton of an old (>60-year-old) male Neanderthal is renowned for the advanced osteoarthritis of its spinal column and hip joint, and their implications for posture and lifestyle in these Mid- to Late Pleistocene humans. Reassessment of the pathologic lesions reveals erosions at multiple non-contiguous vertebrae and reactive bone formation extending far beyond the left hip joint, which suggests the additional diagnosis of brucellosis. This implies the earliest secure evidence of this zoonotic disease in hominin evolution. Brucellosis might have been transmitted via butchering or eating raw meat and is well compatible with the range of prey animals documented for Neanderthals. The associated infertility could have represented an important aspect of health in these late archaic humans.

Abstract

The La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1 skeleton of an old (>60-year-old) male Neanderthal is renowned for the advanced osteoarthritis of its spinal column and hip joint, and their implications for posture and lifestyle in these Mid- to Late Pleistocene humans. Reassessment of the pathologic lesions reveals erosions at multiple non-contiguous vertebrae and reactive bone formation extending far beyond the left hip joint, which suggests the additional diagnosis of brucellosis. This implies the earliest secure evidence of this zoonotic disease in hominin evolution. Brucellosis might have been transmitted via butchering or eating raw meat and is well compatible with the range of prey animals documented for Neanderthals. The associated infertility could have represented an important aspect of health in these late archaic humans.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:Multidisciplinary
Language:English
Date:1 December 2021
Deposited On:18 Oct 2021 15:14
Last Modified:25 Apr 2024 01:40
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-99289-7
PubMed ID:34615929
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_176319
  • : Project TitleBirth and human evolution - implications from computer-assisted reconstructions
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_156299
  • : Project TitleEvolutionary origin of major musculoskeletal disorders of modern humans
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)