What Was The First Virus?

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Researched and Written by Leila Battison
Narrated and Edited by David Kelly
Art by Khail Kupsky
Thumbnail Art and Art by Ettore Mazza
If you like our videos, check out Leila's youtube channel:
Music from Epidemic Sound and Artlist.
Image credits:
Roman relief By Rabax63 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62640557
Surgical Roman instruments By wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/da/ca/54b9d8e72d8093b330b5c708356d.jpgGallery: wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/L0003939.htmlWellcome Collection gallery (2018-04-02): wellcomecollection.org/works/buh7dcjy CC-BY-4.0, CC BY 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35866346
Antonine Plague By wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/70/48/4b5c28e57609137dd2009ae490f2.jpgGallery: wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/V0010664.htmlWellcome Collection gallery (2018-04-03): wellcomecollection.org/works/p8gxfxrp CC-BY-4.0, CC BY 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36456028
Smallpox Virus De Dr Graham Beards at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36392524
Mimivirus By Sarah Duponchel and Matthias G. Fischer - extracted from this Commons file, CC BY-SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90252786
Coccoliphore By Robin Mejia. Image courtesy Dr. Alison Taylor. - [1] doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001087, CC BY-SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=99404892
coccolithophores virus by By DHRUVA SRINIVAS - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56029401
Diversity of coccolithophores By Monteiro, F.M., Bach, L.T., Brownlee, C., Bown, P., Rickaby, R.E., Poulton, A.J., Tyrrell, T., Beaufort, L., Dutkiewicz, S., Gibbs, S. and Gutowska, M.A. - advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/7/e1501822, CC BY-SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91145677
Coccolithophore By ja:User:NEON / commons:User:NEON_ja - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1574059
Human Genome Project By National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) from Bethesda, MD, USA - Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., CC BY 2.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52360074
Eckard Wimmer By SummerWillow - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25635799
Pythovirus By Pavel Hrdlička, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31465816
Electron Bacteriophages By Dr Graham Beards - en:Image:Phage.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5035798


  1. History of the Earth
    History of the Earth
    Maand geleden

    Hello all! Hope you enjoy it. One clarification - the images shown are of a mixture of different chalk cliffs on the south coast of England, not only those specifically in Dover. Also, fun fact - I myself was suffering from coronavirus whilst finishing this video. Dedication to the topic.

    1. IfWhiningAtProblemsWorks, WhyDoCorporationsLobby?
      IfWhiningAtProblemsWorks, WhyDoCorporationsLobby?
      10 dagen geleden

      @dlevi67 Yes, how childish of you. This is like the Australian doctor who said, back in 1986 I think that the bacteria H. pylori caused ulcers. Everyone refused to believe him, even *_after_* he proved this by injecting himself with the bacteria and developing ulcers. Children retain a mystical level of worship of their fathers, which is why almost all of us go through a negative phase when we realize that they're merely mortal. It isn't anything Dad does, it's just that our perceptions of the world change, and we realize he meant everything to the _smaller_ world of our childhood perceptions. Dad can't win a war against Germany or often even one against City Hall as it turns out. so we become disillusioned. In adulthood, all that worship shifts onto government, and now people refuse to believe that any aspect of anything anyone working _in_ government says can be incorrect. Well, here' are some adult facts. 1) Daddy Joe Biden isn't a doctor. The members of congress who take Big Pharma $ and then mandate their vaccines aren't doctors. The people who have over the past 100 years collected scientific evidence that the vaccines are utterly useless *_ARE_* almost _ALL_ doctors and/or at least scientists. Now you're responding to _ME_ as if *_I'M_* saying this, hence the childish response. But by all means, debunk even ONE of the DOZENS of scientific facts found in betterness.com/wp-content/uploads/TheInvisibleRainbow.pdf. If you can. : D

    2. L N
      L N
      10 dagen geleden

      99.7% recovery rate for nearly all.

    3. dlevi67
      10 dagen geleden

      @IfWhiningAtProblemsWorks, WhyDoCorporationsLobby? Go to a COVID party, then, and enjoy.

    4. IfWhiningAtProblemsWorks, WhyDoCorporationsLobby?
      IfWhiningAtProblemsWorks, WhyDoCorporationsLobby?
      11 dagen geleden

      Really? Who did you _catch_ it from? Just kidding: the CDC and NIH have still failed to show it even _CAN_ be transmitted from one living being to another through contagion - but, they assure us, in the best scientifically authoritative tone they can muster that this "doesn't *prove* you _can't_ catch it through contagion." Scientists no upholding the inability to prove a negative as proof of a positive. As people are wont to do when it fits their agenda. Hey, did you know that EVERY attempt throughout recorded history to infect anyone with viral contagion from living infected sources has failed? Yep, it's true, betterness.com/wp-content/uploads/TheInvisibleRainbow.pdf every single attempt to do so has failed. Enjoy your unnecessary lockdown.

    5. Jonno
      16 dagen geleden

      SarsCov2 or just the usual every day corona virus??

  2. Amir Ghahrai
    Amir Ghahrai
    3 uur geleden

    Although interesting,but I expected more in-depth explanation about the way viruses take the cells hostage to grow in human body until finally kill the host .

  3. Maka Faka
    Maka Faka
    Dag geleden

    Alive/living: a natural object that moves against the path of least resistance by itself Life: the set of living entities The word 'natural' is included to eliminate artificial objects that Man has made.

  4. Owen Kilmartin
    Owen Kilmartin
    Dag geleden

    Yank you for such an elegant informative and stunning documentary. You have made my day and fed my starving mind. Hope you have recovered from your recent illness, and are whole and hearty again. Owen k

  5. Edwin Sours
    Edwin Sours
    2 dagen geleden

    One of the best documentaries I've seen in a long time. The statements here presented are not overdone; the information is sufficient for the informed layman. Congratulations!

  6. jef
    2 dagen geleden

    After whatching this i wonder if we are not our selfs a virus. like the virus "parasite" seems we behave the same. only sins we could only experiance our selfs and later on "virus" we had a diffrend concept about life. But never realize that we in a strange manner do the same.

  7. Albert McMullen
    Albert McMullen
    2 dagen geleden

    The writers of science fiction could not equal in imagination, the evolution of these creative viruses. One as to admire the intrinsic will to survive, it is a feature of all life.

  8. Cris Lagonilla
    Cris Lagonilla
    2 dagen geleden

    the virus is the connection between the living and the non-living things. Its the missing link.

  9. Bruno Brown
    Bruno Brown
    3 dagen geleden


  10. Robert DesVeaux
    Robert DesVeaux
    3 dagen geleden

    Great channel!

  11. Bomba Deer
    Bomba Deer
    3 dagen geleden

    Thank you #TeamLeila 💕

  12. Roberto Rober
    Roberto Rober
    4 dagen geleden

    Virus cannot to be older than life because needs life for to replicate.

  13. Random 24
    Random 24
    4 dagen geleden

    Leaping home with their skin covered in pours.. Imagine on tv. Baby skin legs

    4 dagen geleden

    Illuminated 🧿 civics💡

  15. Martin Zitter
    Martin Zitter
    5 dagen geleden

    KILO'METRES, not keelamatuhz

  16. KamiEuKiTo
    5 dagen geleden

    Meanwhile nearly 2000 years later, a bunch of morons burn masks in Florida. I guess to protest *not* being sick.

  17. Robert Mclaren
    Robert Mclaren
    5 dagen geleden

    As I am sceptical about everything, I find this very believable, especially with everything that's going on.

  18. mudslinger888
    5 dagen geleden

    Great content, but the soundtrack over a mumbly unclear voice track makes it very hard to understand, at least for someone with a viral damaged brain! Why this awful fad having to put annoying busy music in front of educational talk? You should be confident that your content is sufficient entertainment itself…

  19. James Dickson
    James Dickson
    5 dagen geleden

    Serial documentaries begin life as political propaganda, David Attenborough is a propagandist for a political movement.

  20. William Meyer
    William Meyer
    6 dagen geleden

    As Dr Malcolm said, “Life always finds a way.”

  21. Andrew Ryder
    Andrew Ryder
    6 dagen geleden

    Fantastic video!

  22. Pup314
    7 dagen geleden

    Is it possible that neanderthal and denisovan genes may have come from retroviruses and not through interbreeding?

  23. mr. moose
    mr. moose
    7 dagen geleden

    excellent stuff, maith tú :)

  24. Otto humpmachine
    Otto humpmachine
    7 dagen geleden

    Maybe they are self replicating extraterrestrial nano bots.

  25. Mellia Boom Bot
    Mellia Boom Bot
    7 dagen geleden

    oH my, this is just brilliant. I did an MA years ago and did the thesis on dark tourism and this led to an interest in something called paleopathology, the study of ancient diseases. Ive always wondered about the origins of cancer and something like this fantastic documentary provides a lot scope.

  26. Mellia Boom Bot
    Mellia Boom Bot
    7 dagen geleden

    Wiki P "Mamavirus was first reported in September 2008. Like mimivirus, mamavirus was isolated from an amoeba in a cooling tower. The mimiviridae were not discovered until recently because of their size; when filtered the mimiviridae stay with the bacteria which led scientists to believe they were also bacteria. Mimivirus was first isolated in 1992 when scientists were looking for the cause of a pneumonia outbreak in Bradford, UK. Due to its size it was named Bradfordcoccus and put in a freezer with scientists thinking it was a bacterium." ..................................................................... BRADFORD??!!

  27. Marilyn Hebert
    Marilyn Hebert
    7 dagen geleden

    The very first virus on the planet is SIN get it!?

  28. Marilyn Hebert
    Marilyn Hebert
    7 dagen geleden

    The problem is SIN you need JESUS first in your life then take care of what He has given you!!! You would not have these problems!!! Oh God I’ve turned my commen sence on!!!!

  29. secular value
    secular value
    7 dagen geleden

    I think we need to redefine life. Virus is life.

  30. Alaric Rex
    Alaric Rex
    8 dagen geleden

    I think somebody was poisoning more wells than anyone would ever believe, were they told. 'Plague' 'Virus' .. lol ...

  31. Aditya
    8 dagen geleden

    Wow! I'm surprised by the quality of the video

  32. Daniel Stein
    Daniel Stein
    8 dagen geleden

    I asked myself what the origine of viruses could have been (that was around the time of BSE, proteins gone wild instead of DNA). Thoughts I had were that viruses were produced by early life as defence mechanism against predators or as a mechanism of early life for exchange of DNA (before sex was invented) gone wild. Does anyone here have an idea, if these theories have been discussed in the scientific community and if yes, why they dismissed them (obviously they must have dismissed them, or they would be an option today)?

  33. OG S1MPSON
    8 dagen geleden

    Jesus was the first virus.

  34. Justin Lelbach
    Justin Lelbach
    8 dagen geleden

    Absolutely beautifully done my friend. Thank you

  35. Rogelio Castañeda Godoy
    Rogelio Castañeda Godoy
    8 dagen geleden

    Loved it ! Greetings from Mexico

  36. Jungle Jargon
    Jungle Jargon
    8 dagen geleden

    You can’t evolve proteins so you can’t evolve life.

  37. john bain
    john bain
    9 dagen geleden

    Fantastic video i learnt a lot thanks for uploading

  38. Howard Conover
    Howard Conover
    9 dagen geleden

    If viruses have DNA then they are alive aren't they? Minerals aren't alive no DNA gases have no DNA but vaccines target viral DNA a living thing. There are many living things that need a host to live, reproduce, and eat just because they need a different environment doesn't mean they aren't alive. Take any part away from it's environment and it ceases to exist (dies).

  39. Phil Sr
    Phil Sr
    9 dagen geleden

    A very easy to follow explanation of all viruses. I didn't know or have any idea of the vast number of viruses. Eat your green vegetables all up because that's your defense against viruses. Brussel sprouts don't seem so awful.

  40. Munkee Bone
    Munkee Bone
    9 dagen geleden

    It's probably why we're all so determined to self-destruct in one way or another; it's programmed in us.

  41. A J
    A J
    10 dagen geleden

    I would love to go back in time and just live their life for one day. Not the desease part though.

  42. falco447
    10 dagen geleden

    I am just totally ASTONISHED because I was asking myself the same question: If a virus needs a host to spread, where did the first virus come from then?? THANK YOU for having picked up this topic!!

  43. Grant Hurlburt
    Grant Hurlburt
    10 dagen geleden

    This is very well done and read. I've been considering giving a sim presentation (Ppt) to my Env Science class about what viruses are. Trying to restrain myself from mentioning that genes are lengths of DNA that code for a protein which is made in the ribosome. Enzymes make everything happen in a cell. Good for you showing restraint!

  44. L N
    L N
    10 dagen geleden

    Thanks for giving a balanced view of viruses, instead of the insane fear mongering of the MSM!

  45. Slova Jednoduché
    Slova Jednoduché
    10 dagen geleden

    Embrace The sacred is we are all individual and in The right environment pút ,mix,sex combine together allow to biodiversify we come out of The test tube as novo varients deň svätenia jari Wishing spring New life

  46. The Master & your Daddy.
    The Master & your Daddy.
    11 dagen geleden

    Its such a dumb thing to keep staying if the scientist had 20th century knowledge he could have cured them. What a stupid thing to keep saying. That like saying we could cure Cancer if we had knowledge from 4000A.D.

  47. Philip Stevenson
    Philip Stevenson
    11 dagen geleden

    Nice graphics, but not saying anything new.

  48. vaticinus
    11 dagen geleden

    Its seems obvious to my layman eyes that Viruses are Parasitic bacteria. Just because they can't reproduce on their own doesn't mean they aren't alive. Living things of all kinds lose important functions over time as they become more and more dependent on their host. There are Parasitic worms that no longer have their own digestive system, their are Parasitic plants that no longer do their own photosynthesis. No roots no leaves but its still a plant. Basically a perfect parasite can greatly simplify itself by relinquishing every important function to its host, if it can get away with it. Including reproduction.

  49. spearPYN
    12 dagen geleden

    My theory is that both viruses and life based on dna were artificially created...

  50. Marcin Miszkurka
    Marcin Miszkurka
    12 dagen geleden

    >>> Please send movies with the latest AV01 codec

  51. Sascha Esken
    Sascha Esken
    12 dagen geleden

    The bird flu virus brought exstinction to all dinosaurs. Believe me i am the expert.

  52. Stan Solo
    Stan Solo
    12 dagen geleden


  53. Sobano S
    Sobano S
    12 dagen geleden

    How would a virus ever develop to specifically affect the phot part of the cell mechanism? Couldn't it have affected some other nondestructive part?

  54. Steven Ray
    Steven Ray
    12 dagen geleden

    I don't like how he talked about viruses being not living because there parasitic. Dude most living things are parasitic feeding on something else. LOL I sit around not doing a great deal when I don't have food to eat also.

  55. Don farlan
    Don farlan
    13 dagen geleden

    What came first the virus or life

  56. io leggo rebubbliga
    io leggo rebubbliga
    13 dagen geleden

    The man, obvious....

  57. Stan Skaggs
    Stan Skaggs
    13 dagen geleden

    Evolution is an interesting theory, but just not likely.

  58. Penta Comstat
    Penta Comstat
    13 dagen geleden

    MORE please..

  59. Albert Chehade
    Albert Chehade
    13 dagen geleden


  60. Dalene Groenewald
    Dalene Groenewald
    14 dagen geleden

    Evolution? How stupid can a people be!!!!!!! Really!!!!!!!

  61. Barry Barnett
    Barry Barnett
    14 dagen geleden


  62. Abdi Piano
    Abdi Piano
    14 dagen geleden

    Church people said, jesus wrote the virus code. I said Gary Kildall and Steve Jobs wrote the first biological virus codes.

  63. radiofun232
    14 dagen geleden

    The question what a virus is, is not answered here. Let alone what was the first virus. Sorry to say.

  64. Pieter Kock
    Pieter Kock
    14 dagen geleden


  65. Tubemanjac
    14 dagen geleden

    15:43 "..... a retrovirus that infected early mammals gave them the instructions for making a new kind of protein which eventually led to the creation of the placenta during pregnancy ..." Hmm.. didn't pregnant mammals already have a placenta in those days? If not, in what way did the fetus grow in isolation from the mother's physiology?

  66. Don Ferguson
    Don Ferguson
    14 dagen geleden


  67. Marty Majix
    Marty Majix
    14 dagen geleden

    People were the first virus and they are Super Spreaders. Too bad they can't fix themselves.

  68. eddyvideostar
    14 dagen geleden

    Your thumbnail picture needed a double-take from me and looked like the birth of the first virus.

  69. Allen W.
    Allen W.
    14 dagen geleden

    how many stars are there in the universe? how do you add 100 millian to an unknown number?

  70. Daniel Carrapa
    Daniel Carrapa
    14 dagen geleden

    Hello, although I appreciate the great work done in the video and the information in it I have to disagree with your use of the word “theory”. The three scenarios you described can be better named “hypothesis” in the scientific convention, not theory.

  71. DevinDTV
    15 dagen geleden

    here's a question: if a non-parasitic virus did exist (a la the self replicating RNA mentioned at the end of the video), would we know about it? what kind of detection methods do we have for this stuff?

  72. Magnus Inventum
    Magnus Inventum
    15 dagen geleden

    Videos such as this are the reason why I ditched cablevision several years ago. Professionally and done with such quality.

  73. Noi Furze
    Noi Furze
    15 dagen geleden

    Thank you so much for such a interesting and informative documentary

  74. Michael Young
    Michael Young
    15 dagen geleden

    You get rid of viruses, you get rid of us.

  75. Michael Young
    Michael Young
    15 dagen geleden

    Viruses are not our enemies but our friends. It helps the immune system to constantly evolve.

  76. Paul Bennett
    Paul Bennett
    16 dagen geleden

    Fascinating and informative, even to a non-scientist like me. The question arises whether DNA is itself a parasite.

  77. TheWalkingNoob
    16 dagen geleden

    So what your saying is COVID is a lie and 99.97% survival rate means we should get on with life? Cool

  78. nwogamesalert
    16 dagen geleden

    Impossible to watch because of stupid loud back "background" audio.

  79. THE Doge
    THE Doge
    16 dagen geleden

    I wholeheartedly believe life started as a virus just trying to continue it’s code, and that’s why we share similarities with viruses. There’s always a common ancestor.

  80. THE Doge
    THE Doge
    16 dagen geleden

    Life is just a planetary virus 💀

  81. Mary Grech
    Mary Grech
    16 dagen geleden

    Suffering from corona which one there's 9 coronas

    1. History of the Earth
      History of the Earth
      16 dagen geleden


  82. Zilean Icath'un
    Zilean Icath'un
    16 dagen geleden


  83. TonyTiger6521
    16 dagen geleden

    17:00 Another incorrect use of the term "junk DNA". No one thought that all the DNA that was not protein-coding was junk. Scientists knew about functional, non-coding DNA for decades before the human genome project was even started. I don't know if it was the first example, but the Lac operon was known about since the early 1960's, and it was known that it had non-coding, regulatory DNA sequences.

  84. Michael Mallal
    Michael Mallal
    16 dagen geleden

    Viruses might have been more viable in coming to Earth on meteorites?

  85. Michael Mallal
    Michael Mallal
    17 dagen geleden

    Maybe viruses begun after the Big Bang, soon after the first atoms?

  86. Michael Mallal
    Michael Mallal
    17 dagen geleden

    COVID-19 has everybody hopping.

  87. grassroot011
    17 dagen geleden

    Sin. as it's transferred once adopted.

    17 dagen geleden

    This Dimitris was stupid how I know. Even with burn hands the virus survives..

  89. Marcus Fossa
    Marcus Fossa
    17 dagen geleden

    Liberals think viruses did not exist before Covid.

  90. I Z
    I Z
    17 dagen geleden

    As usual, my best applaud to Leila for such great research and clear and full text

  91. Edgy Bitch
    Edgy Bitch
    17 dagen geleden

    Reading up on the relationship viruses have with marine microbial diversity, and how they alter important natural processes has me high key interested in pursuing higher education in marine virology. For example, coccolithophores’ significant contribution to sea spray aerosols, an important component for cloud formation, increases significantly with infection by coccolithoviruses. To imagine something of such a small scale driving a biophysical interaction that bears significance to our coastal weather patterns, is utterly mind blowing.

  92. Antonio Monteiro
    Antonio Monteiro
    17 dagen geleden

    You cannot say "souls died" either souls don't exist or souls don't die, pick you choice.

    1. lotusalivelight24
      16 dagen geleden

      Proving, once again, ‘figures of speech,’ can be misleading. Good point. :)💜

  93. Kevin Collins
    Kevin Collins
    18 dagen geleden

    Which now makes me wonder: Is the Earth alive? Galaxies? Black holes? And if not, what will they produce over time?

  94. Adam Moore
    Adam Moore
    18 dagen geleden

    Not to shabby on the narration.

    18 dagen geleden

    About "The Light": " "I," was created by the thought of Gods and "Their," desire to allow all mortals to know that "They," are always with them: As humankind grows and seeks absolute independence from "Them," "They," will remain by their side, guiding them and directing them, in their growth to absolute "WISDOM," the way to "Their Essence" and the Elysium Fields. As you look out beyond the now, into the heavens, "I" will be there, guiding you and helping you know that "I," be visible or invisible, "My Essence," will guide you beyond all that is sensed in your reality. So, let it be now revealed to you that both "I" and "He," in mortal being, who speaks to you through the thoughts of children are but one. " Eleusis. Let The Light within you guide you to the Elysian Fields entrance; your inner beauty is expected. Follow me, "Imagination is the way." by ELias Leousis.

  96. Ronald Daub
    Ronald Daub
    18 dagen geleden

    Could be the waste material of demons.

  97. Ruhi Tuncer
    Ruhi Tuncer
    18 dagen geleden

    Perfect documentary.

  98. Joe 333
    Joe 333
    18 dagen geleden

    Hundreds of millions of years compressed to just 26 minutes and 33 seconds worth of viral and vital information on the origin of Life. Only a virus can survive all that in a state of ' ... to be or not to be ... ' Brilliant!

  99. Random Scrub Muffin
    Random Scrub Muffin
    18 dagen geleden

    He says virus like agent Smith lol

    1. History of the Earth
      History of the Earth
      18 dagen geleden

      Hahah yes i do

  100. Raffael900me
    19 dagen geleden