The rapid development of 20th century medicine has given the worldmany advantages, the main of which was the almost complete elimination of many colds. So, a modern person knows that at the first onset of ARI or influenza, it’s enough to visit a pharmacy by buying a couple of simple drugs and then stay in bed for a couple of days, occasionally drinking tea with raspberries. However, such a happy alignment of events did not always remain so. In 1918, the world was shocked by the terrible flu epidemic that claimed the lives of millions of people around the world. What can we say about those who lived in antiquity? According to the new theory of anthropologists, Neanderthals could completely disappear as a result of a common cold, which is now more common in infants than in adults.
Why did the Neanderthals die out?
Despite the fact that the extinction of Neanderthals asspecies still remains a mystery to scientists, there is an opinion that the main cause of the disappearance of this unique species of man could be a common catarrhal disease. So, scientists are inclined to consider the infectious disease called chronic eustachiitis as the culprit of the mass death of Neanderthals. Usually, eustachitis is caused due to the inflammatory process formed in the nasal cavity in diseases such as sinusitis, rhinitis or tonsillitis. At the same time, the symptoms of the disease are similar to the symptoms of otitis media, causing the patient many unpleasant sensations.
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So why could Neanderthals be so easyto disappear as a result of the infectious disease most often found in young children? The fact is that during a detailed reconstruction of the Neanderthal skull, scientists revealed a previously undetected feature in the structure of the auditory tube connecting the middle ear and nasopharynx of a person. The auditory tube of an ancient person was surprisingly similar to the structure of a similar auditory tube of a modern baby. Due to its somewhat unfortunate horizontal location, as well as its relatively short length, the baby’s auditory tube is most often the organ most vulnerable to infection until the baby reaches the age of 1 year.
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Due to the fact that the children of Cro-Magnon asadulthood acquired a more developed structure and location of the auditory organ, they, thereby, were able to get a certain evolutionary advantage over Neanderthals, preserving the original structure of the ear throughout life. Any ear infection for representatives of Neanderthal tribes could result in very serious consequences, including death. Thus, a small evolutionary detail could lead to the fact that at present we cannot boast of having a Neanderthal friend in our immediate environment. Although, probably, I would like to.