About This Project
How did diseases influence human evolutionary processes in Africa? And what is the ‘Pleistocene disease baseline’?
'Pathocene' integrates the concepts of 'pathogens' and the 'Pleistocene' epoch. The project aims to discover ancient pathogenic DNA (apDNA) from Southern African archaeological caves and rock-shelters spanning the past 100,000 years. While ancient hunter-gatherer groups could not sustain infectious agents like measles and influenza, it is nevertheless from this pre-65,000 year sub-Saharan African ‘Pleistocene disease baseline’ that most modern human diseases derive.