Humans are nothing but trouble. I mean, look at us– we live in the time of apocalypse-inducing A.I. robots that we made ourselves, and we’re making test tube babies that will wipe out fun sex forever. Terrifying. And now, thanks to some new research, we also know that we’ve been ruining things and wiping out entire species ever since we made our grand entrance on earth a looong time ago.
According to a new study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, it looks like humans may have led to the extinction of Neanderthals in Europe by infecting them with certain infectious diseases, like genital herpes. So yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Our ancestors killed an entire species with their dicks.
In the study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge and Oxford Brookes University, pathogens and DNA from ancient bone were analyzed, and researchers drew the conclusion that when homo sapiens, a.k.a. humans, left Africa for Europe, they brought with them certain pathogens (like herpes) and infected the healthy European Neanderthals, ultimately leading to their demise.
Since Neanderthals lived in Europe for thousands of years, they had adapted to and developed immunity to local pathogens, but when humans came along with their horny selves and got freaky with everyone, a little genetic exchange happened between the two hominins, where humans and their half-Neanderthal babies got strong immune systems (with a side-effect of allergies), and all Neanderthals got was herpes. And then they died. The end. Considering that wild interbreeding story, we can safely say that was a total dick move on our part.
According to Dr. Charlotte Houldcroft of the Division of Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, humans not only gave Neanderthals herpes, but also other chronic diseases like tapeworm, tuberculosis, and stomach ulcers, which made them unable to hunt and find food, which eventually made them all die out. Thanks a lot, humans.
This new research also challenges the previous belief that infectious diseases came from the evolution of agriculture, and that it was the livestock we lived around that gave us these illnesses. Little did we know that it was our fault all along. *cue sad trombone*
With that said, save a species. Use a condom.