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Tagesspiegel Thomas Trappe. Through an extensive screening of skeletal collections from well-characterized catastrophe, or emergency, mass burials we plan to detect and sequence pathogen DNA from various historic pandemics spanning at least 2, years of European history. The molecular fossil record of human pathogens will provide insights into host adaptation and evolutionary rates of infectious disease. In addition, human genomic regions relating to disease susceptibility and immunity will be characterized from the skeletal material in order to observe the direct effect that pathogens have made on the genetic make-up of human populations over time.

The results of this project will allow a multidisciplinary interpretation of historical pandemics that have influenced the course of human history. It will provide priceless information for the field of history, evolutionary biology, anthropology as well as medicine and will have direct consequences on how we manage emerging and re-emerging infectious disease in the future.

Skip to navigation Press Enter. Skip to main content Press Enter. Press Releases Events Media Coverage Research outline News Director J. Krause Publications Selected media. Alberdi - - Mar del Plata, Argentina. Correspondence to:. The authors present a review of records of intestinal parasitic helminths from animals in human archaeological remains, reported since the emergence of paleopathological studies.

The objective was to relate paleoparasitological findings to geographic, biotic, and abiotic factors from the environment in which the prehistoric populations lived, and understand some aspects related to the process of human dispersion and biological and cultural evolution.

Modification of eating habits and the incorporation of new cultural practices are analyzed from the perspective of zoonoses from prehistory to the present day, especially in Brazilian indigenous populations. Three tables identifying the helminths, their natural hosts, dates, and sites of archaeological findings complete this review.

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In conclusion, various zoonoses known today have occurred since antiquity, and these data, combined with studies on the emergence and reemergence of diseases, could make possible to compose scenarios for the future. Parasites of animals may infect humans, and in some cases cause disease. On the other hand, false parasitism is also observed in individuals after eating infected animals with parasite species that are not able to infect humans. Therefore, the eggs pass with feces without causing infection, as recorded in indigenous groups In examining archaeological material one has to separate coprolites of human origin from others of animal origin.

However, parasitism is a dynamic process, and changes may occur.

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The finding of Echinostoma sp. These modifications reflect possible variations in eating habits among prehistoric human groups, since hunter-gatherers ingested wild animals, thus becoming potential hosts for new parasites over the course of their evolutionary history Cases of animal parasites infecting humans were described in Europe, especially in the Neolithic and Medieval periods 71 , and in Patagonia in the pre-contact period Evidence of the ingestion of small animals, consumed whole or in pieces, without cooking, described by REINHARD in human coprolites, increased the interest in the investigations of animals used for food and as possible transmitters of parasites to humans.

The possibilities for the occurrence of parasitic helminths from wild animals in prehistoric human populations are wide and variable according to the local fauna and different habits and cultures around the world.

The absence of many of these species today reflects the change in these parameters, especially since agriculture and domestication 32, Thus, the interest in studying eating habits in past times and the interaction with intermediate, definitive, and paratenic hosts motivated a review of findings of helminths in archaeological material, situating them in time and space, as well as associating them with the living habits of ancient human groups. The study of parasites in archaeological material has developed extensively in recent decades Since its emergence nearly a century ago, paleoparasitology has contributed empirical data on the presence of infections and clinical disease conditions among populations that have already disappeared from the Old and New Worlds.

This science provides data on the evolution of parasites and their hosts, in addition to helping understand the occupation of territories and retracing migratory paths of prehistoric populations 2,4.

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Paleoparasitological findings feature not only specific human parasites, inherited from ancestors, but also those acquired over the course of hominid dispersion and biological and cultural evolution 3. Therefore, in paleoparasitology it is very important to know whether the coprolite is of human or other animal origin. Thus, the final diagnosis is based on evidences pointing to a true infection by a parasite or a false parasitism. A zoonosis may have occurred, i. Rudolph Virchow coined the term zoonosis in Since then, other authors have attempted to define zoonoses and identify their causes, propelled by the early age of bacteriology that furnished data concerning their etiological agents and modes of transmission The official concept , adopted to this day, defines zoonosis as any disease or infection that is naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans 73,88 and vice-versa.

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This transmission is possible since parasites can occur in hosts over the course of the evolutionary process, that is, there is a parasite specificity that restricts infections, but the latter can occur by evolutionary adaptation in new host species 9, These various possibilities can include an accidental encounter between parasites and new hosts.

Such encounters can generate new intraspecific relations either successful or unsuccessful and intermediate relations This fact can be exemplified by the sporadic finding of animal helminth eggs in human feces, merely meaning human consumption of some animal infected with the parasite and that the eggs passed through the human digestive tract together with the ingested food, without establishing a relationship and without even causing any damage to his health REINHARD also refers to false parasitism, a relationship in which the parasite's lack of specificity with the individual that consumed it prevents the parasite from completing its biological cycle, developing, or multiplying inside this host; a large quantity of eggs in the feces would indicate true infection.

When an animal parasite manages to establish itself in the human body, a true infection occurs, thus a zoonosis, whether or not the parasite succeeds in completing its life cycle.

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For example, human infection with larvae of Ancylostoma caninum or Toxocara canis, both canine parasites, cause infection and clinical manifestations, but the parasites do not complete their life cycle in the human host Another example is Trichinella spiralis infection. Humans become infected when they eat raw or undercooked meat of infected animals, especially pigs. There are ancient records of T. Currently, in addition to T.

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Echinococcus granulosus also fails to complete its cycle in humans but has been found in archaeological remains in the USA 79,89, , Europe 11,21,,, , and Middle East 5, In this review we searched only for records of intestinal helminths. The attempt was to verify all the existing records on paleoparasitology and related sciences that in some way had recorded the occurrence of animal intestinal parasitic helminths in human archaeological remains.

We excluded findings of uncertain origin, but false parasitism was considered. This review is expected to expand the knowledge on the occurrence of animal parasites in humans from an evolutionary perspective, from prehistoric periods, correlating them to the various regions of the world, chronology, and different habits between populations, thus contributing to the studies conducted today among special populations, like indigenous groups in Brazil. As shown in Table 1 , the majority of findings of animal parasites in human archaeological material from the Old World are concentrated in Europe, where numerous latrines provide material for paleoparasitological analyses of practically the entire continent The first published studies containing zoonotic helminths were by SZIDAT , who found Diphyllobothrium latum eggs in material from Austria dated 1, years BP, followed by findings of Dicrocoelium sp.

The domestication of animals and plants favored an increase in the occurrence of parasitosis among human populations, as exemplified in specific regions. In addition, the agricultural surplus was stored in deposits, increasing the potential risk of infection by contamination of the grain or other foodstuffs and by attracting animals like rodents 7,31,87 , the natural hosts of various zoonoses affecting humans With domestication, humans kept animals close to them for consumption, like cattle, goats, and pigs, as well as companion animals like dogs and cats.

ROCHA et al. This constant contact with animals facilitated the transmission of parasites, including zoonotic ones, that were previously acquired sporadically, like Taenia sp. Still, little or nothing is known about the parasites that affected Old World populations before the domestication of plants and animals, since most parasite findings in archaeological material date to after the introduction of agriculture as a means of subsistence.

The oldest records of animal parasites in human archaeological remains are from the African continent and Middle East, already in agricultural societies, where eggs from the genera Diphyllobothrium, Dicrocoelium, Taenia, and Fasciola were found in material dating close to 10, BP in Israel, South Africa, and Egypt 33,61, In Europe, the oldest records date to 4, year old Fasciola hepatica eggs found in human and cattle coprolites in Germany 34 , and 3, - 2, BP, with Dicrocoelium sp. Although these findings are from communities that dominated farming techniques, they belong to the period in which the Pf n-Horgen transition occurred in the Neolithic 3, - 2, BC , when climate changes affected the production of cultivated grains, leading to subsistence crises.

The population was thus forced to turn to the consumption of wild vegetables, and also hunting and fishing, often consuming raw items 35,36, East and Southeast Asia. In Asia, especially in Japan, findings are related mainly to parasites acquired through the consumption of raw fish, a cultural tradition that dates to prehistoric times, popularized with the emergence of sushi in the 4 th century AD 65 Table 2.

Clonorchis sinensis, Paragonimus sp. Unlike Japan, in China, where foods are traditionally cooked before eating, C. In Korea, C. A mummy from 1, - AD was also found with Metagonimus yokogawai and Gymnophalloides seoi eggs Currently, the main zoonotic helminths in the Asian population are still related to the consumption of raw fish and other seafood Agriculture was not adopted at the same in the New World as in the Old World. Various prehistoric populations either continued their hunting-gathering habits - despite knowledge of farming techniques adopted by other groups in the same region - or used them jointly 32, However, the domestication of animals shows major differences in comparison to the process that occurred in the Old World DIAMOND 31 explains this difference by local geography and climate, since the majority of large herbivores were located in Eurasia, while the Americas had few large species with chances of domestication, especially after the great extinctions of mammals in the Late Pleistocene.

Importantly, however, is that the great herds of Old World herbivores are migratory or occupy large areas, requiring continuous shifting of human populations to follow this resource, through areas that are sometimes inhospitable or used by other human groups, a phenomenon known as transhumance From this perspective, the investment in domestication brings advantageous results However, in the Americas, despite the existence of medium and large social herbivores like the Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis , American bison Bison bison , moose Alces alces , and others in North America 51 , there is no evidence that these species were domesticated, although they were hunted for food.

The domestication of animals in the New World occurred mainly in the Andean region and Mexico, where native groups domesticated ducks Cairina moschata , turkeys Meleagris gallopavo , guinea pigs Cavia porcellus , and llamas Lama glama , from which they obtained milk and meat, and alpaca L. Dogs were also raised for food in Mexico , but domestication of the dog did not occur on this continent. Dogs already domesticated came in the company of prehistoric humans when they arrived on the American continent some 14, years ago For most native groups in the South American lowlands, animals were not domesticated for food.

In Brazil, for example, various indigenous groups kept wild animals either as pets or for plucking feathers in the case of birds Although there is no abundance of large herbivores in groups, like those that exist in Eurasia, North America, and Africa, some, like peccaries Tayassu pecari and Pecari tajacu and tapirs Tapirus anta could have been domesticated. However, since the browsing and grazing areas for these species are relatively small, they are not migratory. In: Emerging Pathogens. Greenblatt, C.

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Oxford University Press. Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, Vol 2. Garrity et al. Kusch, J. Towards an understanding of the killer trait: Caedibacter endocytobionts in Paramecium. In: Overmann, J. In: Fujishima, M.

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