Excerpt: Medical anthropologists have identified three major periods of disease since the beginning of human evolution, and the first started just 10,000 years ago, with the domestication of animals. When we brought animals into the barnyard, they brought their diseases with them. When we domesticated cows and sheep, for example, we also domesticated their Rinderpest virus, which turned into human measles, now thought of as a relatively benign disease. Over the last 150 years, measles has killed 200 million people. And, in a sense, all those deaths can ultimately be traced back just a few hundred generations to the taming of the first cattle. Smallpox likely came from camel pox. We domesticated pigs, and got whooping cough. We domesticated chickens, and we got typhoid fever and Typhoid Mary, and domesticated ducks, and got influenza.
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