Video: Could cancer be our oldest ancestor?
(PhysOrg.com) -- Arizona State University researcher Paul Davies shares his theory about cancer being our evolutionary ancestor.
Before the Cambrian flowering of multicellular life, there was a period of about a billion years where cells began to get together and form rudimentary colonies, says Davies, an astrobiologist who is one of two scientists proposing a theory that suggests cancer cells are living fossils.
"These rudimentary colonies, I think, were like the earliest tumors. So when people get cancer now, these tumors represent a throwback to that time about a billion years ago that first experimentation with multicellularity," Davies says.