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Aug 01, 2016 07:51 AM EDT

Scientists New Finding Expands Cancer Disease Timeline; It's been Here Since 1.7 Million Years Ago

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Scientists found malignant tumors in spine and foot bone of hominins believed to be 1.7 million years old.

The finding is surprising the science world since the previous 'possible time' of tumor presence was 120,000 years ago. The huge difference sets a new record of cancer disease timeline

Cancer disease found in 1.7-million-year-old fossils

Researchers examined fossils in Swartkrans, South Africa taken in 1960 and 1980 using Micro CT technology. One is a foot bone and the other is a spine. Scientists found that the malignant tumors in the bones were osteogenic cancers. This cancer, according to Edward John Odes from Wits University, still exists today, TechTimes reported.

Odes also stated that the specimens were compared against today's human osteosarcoma specimen. The result proved to be identical even when there is a huge time gap. However, the team could not determine whether the toe bone was an adult's or child's.

Implications for modern day studies

Scientists have studied cancer disease for so long and they have learned that it has been present in ancient time. With the findings, they believe that it would benefit for cancer evolution studies.

Modern-day cancers are often associated with lifestyles. The report is actually in contrast to modern findings on cancer disease causes. Today, cancer is closely related to unhealthy diets and environments. However, the study published in South African Journal of Science seems to suggest that malignant bone tumor has been a health problem million years ago.

Another study also found evidences of prostate cancer in several Egyptian mummies. The National Geographics noted Imhotep's journal which described 'mass in the breast'. The Egyptian physician lived during 2600 B.C. His writings contributed to cancer disease evidence in ancient time albeit no detailed descriptions on the tumors were revealed until 18th century.

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