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When he passed, his community buried him in a fetal position in a circular pit. Unlike most men of this period, who would have been buried lying on their back with fishing or hunting gear, he was laid to rest with an ornamental bone and a bone spoon, intricately carved with a winding serpent handle. The researchers estimate he would have been between 35 to 40 years old. Lieverse and her team performed a differential diagnosis on the man’s remains, just as if he had died recently. After ruling out possibilities such as tuberculosis or fungal diseases, the most likely culprit was metastatic carcinoma, that is, cancer that starts in one part of the body and spreads.
Lieverse explained that ancient skeletons exhibiting signs of cancer are quite rare, sparking the hypothesis that the disease is mostly a recent phenomenon, reflecting various aspects of our modern lifestyle. Siberia’s Cis-Baikal is a vast, mountainous region northwest of Lake Baikal. It is the deepest freshwater lake on earth, home to the world’s only freshwater seal, which would have made up part of the man’s diet, along with fish, wild game and seasonal plants—there were certainly no processed foods on the menu.
originally posted by: Kandinsky
a reply to: theantediluvian
It's like one of humanity's oldest companions...grim. Cancer tumours were referred to in the 3500 year old Edwin Smith Papyrus. 'No treatment' iirc.
In some ways, I see these examples as high points in the way we treat those we love. The deceased must have been well looked after to survive the ravages of spreading cancers for so long. Today we have hospices, but it seems we were frequently just as caring in the distant past. Even that Shanadar (sp?) Neanderthal was looked after and valued right up to his death and beyond.
Off into a parallel aside...I read that the cancerous tumour in the Tasmanian Devil population is amongst the oldest life-forms we know of. I say 'is' (singular) as the way it's been transmitted apparently means it's remained unchanged for centuries and is essentially the same tumour despite being split across thousands of individuals across time.