According to a new research, even the earliest humans living some 11,000 years ago may have had to face bedbugs or at least their ancestors. Science reached this conclusion after finding cimicid insects in a human-inhabited cave. Cimicids are considered to be the bedbugs’ ancient relatives.
A research team from the University of Oregon and the Paleoinsect Research is behind this latest study. They published their results in a paper in The Journal of Medical Entomology. The researchers discovered the ancient remains as they were studying the Five Mile Point Cave site situated in Oregon. Previous studies have shown that both humans and bats used to live in the area as early as 13,500 years ago or during the late Pleistocene Epoch.
The team found 14 cimicid subfossils in the same area. These were estimated to be around 5,100 to 11,000 years old. Out of them, research managed to identify three species, all of them part of the Cimex genus. This latter’s most famous and living species is the common bedbug or the Cimex lectularius.
Bedbugs Or Their Relatives Have Been Living Alongside Humans For Over 11,000 Years
Research was also able to identify most of the remaining cimicid insects. These seem to be bat parasites and unrelated to modern bedbugs. As such, the team believes that they posed little to no threats to the ancient humans living in the area. Or at least they caused problems only in rare occasions.
According to the researchers, these discoveries are quite more important than may be initially believed. For one, they could help establish the transition from bat to human feeding patterns. Or even the bedbugs’ move from a cave-dwelling existence to a cosmopolitan environment.
“I believe that bat-parasitic cimicids would have fed on humans if the opportunity presented itself”. This is according to Martin Adams, a study researcher.
Even if ancient humans and cimicids did not interact, this discovery is still quite relevant as it offers the earliest record of the Cimex genus.
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