Herpes has been found in 50,000-year-old Neanderthal bones.

Scientists have found traces of herpes in Neanderthal bones

Scientists have found traces of herpes in Neanderthal bones

Brazilian researchers have uncovered remnants of the herpesviruses - which can cause blisters or sores to develop around the mouth and genitals - in the DNA of two male Neanderthals found in a Russian cave.

Previous findings have suggested that Neanderthals could have gone extinct due to viruses and the new study provides further validation for the theory.

The boffins are now hoping to synthesise the viruses and infect human cells in a laboratory to see how they compare to modern-day infectious illnesses.

Marcelo Briones, lead author of the study at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, told NewScientist: "These Jurassic Park-like viruses could then be studied for their reproductive and pathogenic traits and compared to present-day counterparts.

"I am sceptical that this could be achieved given the lack of full understanding of how the viruses' DNA is damaged and how to reconstruct the recovered pieces into a full viral genome.

"Also, the host-virus interaction, especially in a completely different environment, is something to consider."