A new analysis of ancient mummies has revealed that a parasite, the Schistosoma Mansoni, which affects people all over the world, it also infected the ancients. The disease caused by the worm is known as "schistosomiasis”, Which, although generally not fatal, can cause anemia, damage internal organs and cognitive development in children, as well as lead to chronic general weakness in people who suffer from it.
“Before this study it was always assumed that Schistosoma Mansoni was a product of modern urbanization”Quoted George Armelagos, an anthropologist at Emory University in Atlanta and a co-author of the study.
Since the discovery of parasite eggs in mummies in the 1920s, Scientists have suspected that the Nubians may have been infected with schistosomiasis, but researchers generally assumed that the disease in that town was caused by Schistosoma Haematobium, a close cousin of the other parasite.
Hibbs Campbell, the study's author, and his colleagues examined hundreds of mummies from Nubia and an analysis of the mummified skin reveals traces of proteins belonging to the parasite in question, the first proof that the ancient Nubians, or any other civilization, was affected by schistosomiasis.
The research will be published in the journal American Journal of Physical Anthropology of this month.
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