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This paper integrates our knowledge from traditional Chinese medical texts and archeological findings to discuss parasitic loads in early China. Many studies have documented that several different species of eukaryotic endoparasites were present in early human populations throughout China. Nevertheless, comprehensive paleoparasitological records from China are patchy, largely due to taphonomic and environmental factors. An examination of early Chinese medical texts allows us to fill in some of the gaps and counteract apparent biases in the current archeoparasitological records. By integrating the findings of paleoparasitology with historic textual sources, we show that parasites have been affecting the lives of humans in China since ancient times. We discuss the presence and prevalence of three groups of parasites in ancient China: roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), Asian schistosoma (Schistosoma japonicum), and tapeworm (Taenia sp.). We also examine possible factors that favored the spread of these endoparasites among early humans. Thereby, this paper aims not only to reveal how humans have been affected by endoparasites, but also to address how early medical knowledge developed to cope with the parasitic diseases.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: International journal of paleopathology
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Comparison of various psychological, sociological, or cultural factors in order to assess the similarities or diversities occurring in two or more different cultures or societies.
A personality disorder characterized by a pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts. (From DSM-IV, 1994)
A personality disorder marked by a pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts. (DSM-IV)
An ancient civilization, known as early as 2000 B.C. The Persian Empire was founded by Cyrus the Great (550-529 B.C.) and for 200 years, from 550 to 331 B.C., the Persians ruled the ancient world from India to Egypt. The territory west of India was called Persis by the Greeks who later called the entire empire Persia. In 331 B.C. the Persian wars against the Greeks ended disastrously under the counterattacks by Alexander the Great. The name Persia in modern times for the modern country was changed to Iran in 1935. (From Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p546 & Asimov, Words on the Map, 1962, p176)
DNA isolated from fossils or other ancient specimens.