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A steamy tale as old as time

Compiled by staff writer

Scientists have discovered that humans were kissing each other 4,500 years ago — much earlier than previously believed.

By examining ancient clay tablets, researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark have uncovered evidence that kissing was common in early societies.

The steamy findings challenge the notion that kissing originated from a specific region and instead indicate that it was a widespread activity across various cultures.

The evidence comes in the form of a script found on clay tablets used in ancient Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq and Syria.

Among the tantalising tablets is a Babylonian clay model dating back to 1,800 BC, depicting an erotic scene with what appears to be a lip-to-lip encounter.

Dr Troels Pank Arboll, a Mesopotamian medical history expert at the University of Copenhagen, said many thousands of these clay tablets have survived.

“They contain clear examples that kissing was considered a part of romantic intimacy in ancient times. Just as kissing could be part of friendships and family members’ relations.”

It turns out that our closest living relatives, bonobos and chimpanzees, also engage in kissing.

And here comes the juicy part! The scientists propose that the innocent act of smooching may have inadvertently played a role in spreading the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), causing those infamous cold sores.

Delving into Mesopotamian medical texts, the researchers stumbled upon mentions of a disease resembling symptoms associated with HSV-1.

Said Arboll: “The bu’shanu disease was located primarily in or around the mouth and throat, and symptoms included vesicles in or around the mouth, which is one of the dominant signs of herpes.”

Pictured above: Ancient kissing

Image source: Twitter