The “cold sore” virus may have become famous thanks to a Bronze Age joke

According to scientists, the herpes virus became widespread around 5,000 years ago, possibly due to the popularity of kissing at the time.

“Every primate species has a type of herpes, so we think we’ve had it since our species left Africa,” said Christiana Scheib, a researcher at the University of Cambridge. Jones College and head of the Ancient DNA Laboratory at the University of Tartu in Estonia, said. message (opens in new tab). “However, something happened about five thousand years ago that allowed one strain of herpes to overtake all the others, possibly related to kissing.”

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