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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz
ISSN: 1678-8060
EISSN: 1678-8060
Vol. 98, No. s1, 2003, pp. 103-118
Bioline Code: oc03016
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Vol. 98, No. s1, 2003, pp. 103-118

 en Human Intestinal Parasites in the Past: New Findings and a Review
Marcelo Luiz Carvalho Gonçalves; Adauto Araújo & Luiz Fernando Ferreira

Abstract

Almost all known human specific parasites have been found in ancient feces. A review of the paleoparasitological helminth and intestinal protozoa findings available in the literature is presented. We also report the new paleoparasitologic findings from the examination performed in samples collected in New and Old World archaeological sites. New finds of ancylostomid, Ascaris lumbricoides check for this species in other resources , Trichuris trichiura check for this species in other resources , Enterobius vermicularis check for this species in other resources , Trichostrongylus check for this species in other resources spp., Diphyllobothrium latum check for this species in other resources , Hymenolepis nana check for this species in other resources and Acantocephalan eggs are reported. According to the findings, it is probable that A. lumbricoides was originally a human parasite. Human ancylostomids, A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura, found in the New World in pre-Columbian times, have not been introduced into the Americas by land via Beringia. These parasites could not supported the cold climate of the region. Nomadic prehistoric humans that have crossed the Bering Land Bridge from Asia to the Americas in the last glaciation, probably during generations, would have lost these parasites, which life cycles need warm temperatures in the soil to be transmitted from host to host. Alternative routes are discussed for human parasite introduction into the Americas.

Keywords
paleoparasitology - ancient diseases - helminths - protozoa - coprolites - mummies

 
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