The oldest known human virus has been found by British scientists on a 4,500-year-old Bronze Age skeleton.
Traces of Hepatitis B (HBV) were found in DNA recovered from a collection of bones from parts of Eurasia, the Daily Mail reported. About 25 of 300 specimens contained evidence of HBV infection, and of those 12 skeletons had enough genetic code to analyze in detail.
“Scientists mostly study modern virus strains and we have mainly been in the dark regarding ancient sequences — until now,” Cambridge University professor and joint study author Dr. Terry Jones said of the findings, the Daily Mail reported. “It was like trying to study evolution without fossils.”