Previous studies have successfully shown evidence for parasitic infections in human remains from various archaeological sites. However, in the case of Korea, since there have been very few paleoparasitological reports published, pre-20th century parasitic infection patterns remain obscure. Therefore, in order to partly fill this gap, we are reporting on a case of paleoparasitic infection from the feces of a 15th century child mummy from Yangju, Korea. In the course of the present study, we found the eggs of Clonorchis sinensis, Ascaris lumbricoides, and Trichuris trichiura in the feces of the mummy. Trichuris trichiura eggs were found in far greater numbers than other parasite eggs; in fact, intact bipolar plugs were clearly observed and even the larvae were still visible in some eggs. The eggs of C. sinensis and A. lumbricoides were also well preserved, though not in as great a number. Since we could find a number of well-preserved larvae-containing eggs, we are encouraged that successful extraction, amplification, and sequence determination of ancient DNA from the paleoparasite eggs might be possible in future studies. With additional paleoparasitological investigation using feces from Korean mummies, we hope that a history of parasite infection in Korea will be reconstructed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics