Objective: This study was designed to search for ancient parasites in abdominal content and coprolites from Bolivian mummies. Materials: Twelve mummified individuals from the Andean highlands, housed at the National Museum of Archaeology (MUNARQ) in La Paz, Bolivia. Methods: Microscopic analysis of rehydrated samples (coprolites and abdominal content), following Lutz's spontaneous sedimentation technique. Results: Eggs of Enterobius vermicularis were identified in coprolites from one mummy, and capillariid eggs in the organic abdominal content from another individual. Conclusions: This is the first evidence of ancient intestinal parasites in Bolivian mummies. Significance: This pioneering study focused on the search of ancient intestinal parasites in human remains of the Bolivian Andes and contributes to greater knowledge of paleoparasitology in South America. Limitations: All mummies in the MUNARQ belonged to the Andean Bolivian highlands (post-Tiwanaku era or Late Intermediate Period), although the exact provenance of the material and the associated contexts are not well recorded. Suggestions for further research: Considering the great number of well-known archaeological sites and other unexplored sites in Bolivia, in addition to large collections in museums, further paleopathological and paleoparasitological molecular studies in mummies and skeletons are called for.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was partially supported by the Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, La Paz, Bolivia .
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.
- Andean mummies