LMU assistant professor helps discover bone cancer in ancient fossil

(source: WITS University)

HARROGATE (WATE) – Researchers from around the world, including Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine Assistant Professor of Anatomy Zach Throckmorton, Ph.D., say they have discovered ancient bone cancer in a fossil believed to be 1.7 million years old.

It’s not known what exact species the foot bone belongs to, but it is clearly a bipedal human relative. The fossil was found decades ago in South Africa. Throckmorton says the discovery shows that cancers are not diseases of modern times, but were also suffered by our ancient relatives.

“While we’ve known other ancient animals, even dinosaurs, suffered from cancer, this is the oldest known case of cancer in a close human relative,” said Throckmorton.

The researchers looked at the microscopic internal structure of the fossil and compared them to images of bone cancer biospsied from living people.

More online: Read the full paper

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