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Scientists Believe Ear Infections May Have Wiped Out the Neanderthals


Source: Natural History Museum

Scientists have a new theory on what may have killed off the Neanderthals – ear infections!

According to the Daily Mail, findings published in the Anatomical Record Journal suggests Neanderthals were more prone to contracting ear infections as they had smaller ears allowing for bacteria to clog up.

The New York-based scientists carrying out the research believe complications from ear infections led to breathing problems, hearing problems and pneumonia.

“It may sound far-fetched, but when we, for the first time, reconstructed the Eustachian tubes of Neanderthals, we discovered that they are remarkably similar to those of human infants,” the Daily Mail reports Professor Samuel Márquez of the Downstate Health Sciences University as saying.

“Middle ear infections are nearly ubiquitous among infants because the flat angle of an infant’s Eustachian tubes is prone to retain the otitis media bacteria that cause these infections – the same flat angle we found in Neanderthals.”

“It’s not just the threat of dying of an infection,” Dr. Márquez added. “If you are constantly ill, you would not be as fit and effective in competing with your Homo sapien cousins for food and other resources. In a world of survival of the fittest, it is no wonder that modern man, not Neanderthal, prevailed.”


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