by Ewen Callaway
Meat-eating – and diseases that come with it – have a long history among our ancestors, suggests a new study of an ancient hominin skeleton.
The analysis of 1.5 to 2.8 million-year-old vertebrae of Australopithecus africanus recovered in South Africa reveals signs of a bacterial infection that is normally contracted from eating meat or dairy foods.
"This is the most ancient case of an infectious disease in a hominin," says Ruggero D'Anastasio, a palaeoanthropologist at State University "Gabriele d'Annunzio" in Chieti, Italy, who diagnosed the skeleton with a disease called brucellosis.
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