Egyptian mummies helping research into modern allergies
|Image via The Irish Times|
An article in The Irish TImes states that parasites found in the entrails of Egyptian mummies may be the help with modern allergies today.
"Human remains have tales to tell if you know where to look and Dr Piers Mitchell knew where and what to look for. He wanted to understand when parasites such as worms and fluke first started to infect humans and see what impact parasites might have had on human evolution.
The clues themselves were fossilised egg cases and worms, proof of infection and also of the kinds of parasites our ancient relatives carried. Details of the research were published last week in the International Journal of Paleopathology, and he discussed them today on the closing day of the British Science Festival in Newcastle.
The evidence could be found in mummified bodies from Egypt, South America and the Sudan and in any human burial ground. Egg casings and worms could also be found in “coprolites”, fossilised human faeces, he said.
He collated information available from around the world, trying to get a picture of what parasites our ancestors carried but also to study the migratory paths they followed.
He identified what he called 16 “heirloom” parasites. These were the infectious agents that existed as early humans evolved, parasites that in turn would later be carried away by them as they moved to colonise places away from Africa."
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