Scientists discover worm eggs in Viking toilets

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists conducted a genetic analysis of worms found in the excrement of ancient Scandinavians in Denmark. An article about this was published in Nature Communications.

Vlasoglav is a roundworm that causes the disease trichocephalosis. The worm was named so because of the unusual shape of the body: the anterior part of its body is filamentous, through which only the esophagus passes, and the posterior part is much wider.

In modern developed countries, people become infected with it extremely rarely, but in the third world it is still a common disease.

Scientists from the University of Copenhagen examined the toilets of the ancient Scandinavians in Copenhagen and Viborg.

There, they found worm eggs in good condition, cleaned them of excrement, and sequenced their DNA. Their age is approximately equal to a thousand years. “Luckily for us, eggs are designed to survive in the soil for a long time.

Under optimal conditions, the parasite’s genetic material can be very well preserved after many years.

In nature, eggs develop in the ground for three months, and after that they can live even longer, as they wait to be eaten by a new host, in whose digestive tract they will then hatch, ”the authors comment on the study.

These genetic data were compared with the DNA of modern whipworms, as well as with similar findings in many countries, including Africa.

As a result, scientists have confirmed the theory that the whipworm spread from Africa around the world along with humans about 55,000 years ago, following the so-called human migration hypothesis from Africa. This is supported by the fact that it is in Uganda that the genetic diversity of worms is the greatest.

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