How Long Has the Flu Been Around?
Did the dinosaurs get the flu? Maybe, how the hell would I know. You are nosy!
Since you asked I searched online and found this for you…you’re welcome.
found at Popsci.com
FYI: Did Dinosaurs Get The Flu?
By looking for clues in contemporary accounts of disease outbreaks, Morens has concluded, with 95 percent certainty, that humans were getting the flu as far back as 1510 A.D. His confidence drops to about 80 percent for epidemics dating to the 800s. “Maybe the 590 A.D. epidemic was influenza,” he says, “but when we go back further than that, it’s just ‘Who knows?’”
Meanwhile, virologists have tried to find the genetic origins of influenza. Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona compares the genomes of influenza viruses with those of similar viruses that have been sequenced, in an effort to draw up a kind of evolutionary tree for pathogens. According to this method, the flu shares an ancestor with something called the infectious salmon anemia virus.
How long ago did the influenza and the salmon virus separate? That’s tricky. Viral genomes change more rapidly than an animal’s, in part because they don’t waste time fixing replication errors. “It’s like writing an e-mail really fast with your eyes closed and then sending it,” says Worobey. “Flu viruses accumulate a lot of mutations.”