Redacción Ciencia (EFE).- The custom of romantic kisses was a practice established in the first Mesopotamian societies 4,500 years ago, according to a new article based on various written sources that, in addition to its origin, also analyzes its possible role in the transmission of some diseases.
The authors of the article Troels Pank Arboll, of the University of Copenhagen, and Sophie Lund, of the University of Oxford, indicate that, although the kissing tradition is probably older, documentary evidence places it about 1,000 years earlier than hitherto. recognized by the scientific community.
The article highlights that there is a body of overlooked evidence for romantic-sexual kissing present in ancient Mesopotamian texts from 2,500 BC.
Tablets with the origin of kisses
In ancient Mesopotamia, which is the name of the first human cultures that existed between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in present-day Iraq and Syria, people wrote in cuneiform on clay tablets.
Many thousands of these clay tablets have survived to this day and contain clear examples that kissing was considered a part of romantic intimacy in ancient times, just as it might be a part of family members’ friendships and relationships, Arbøll explains. .
“However, kissing should not be seen as a custom that originated only in a single region and spread from there, but rather – he considers – seems to have been a practice in many ancient cultures over several millennia.”
Regarding its role in the evolution and spread of orally transmitted diseases such as the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), they believe that it cannot be considered as a sudden biological trigger that causes a spread of specific pathogens, as some research has shown. suggested.
Beyond its importance for social and sexual behavior, the appearance and act of the romantic kiss may have had a secondary and unintended effect on the transmission of the disease, according to the article, published in Science.
Recent paleogenomic research has shown that today’s common kissing-transmissible pathogens, including HSV-1, Epstein-Barr virus, and human parvovirus B19, were present in ancient and even prehistoric historical periods.
Arbøll and Rasmussen reviewed ancient DNA, cultural artwork, and ancient medical records to show that the presence of kissing-borne diseases may be older and more widespread than some recent studies have suggested.
“It seems unlikely that kissing has emerged as an immediate behavioral adaptation in other contemporary societies, inadvertently accelerating the transmission of the disease,” say the authors, quoted by the University of Copenhagen.
Humans generally exhibit two main types of kissing: the friendly parental kiss and the romantic-sexual kiss, the researchers recall.
The former is pervasive behavior among humans across time and geography, but the latter is not culturally universal, but tends to occur in stratified societies.