Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Parasitol Today. 1990 Apr;6(4):93-100.

Helminths as heirlooms and souvenirs: a review of new world paleoparasitology.

Author information

Division of Comparative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.


Evidence from studies on ancient human feces, intestinal contents and organs of preserved bodies has established that Enterobius vermicularis, Trichuris trichiura, Diphyllobothrium spp and probably Trichinella spiralis infected humans in the pre-Columbian New World. These species, and perhaps other common human helminths for which there is not yet convincing evidence, probably accompanied transberingeal immigrants and their dogs, and thus can be seen as heirloom parasites. Early humans on the American continents were affected by helminths of native animals such as Paragonimus and Cryptocotyle, and these have also been found in precontact human remains. Michael Kliks considers that the indigenous parasites infecting early Americans may be viewed as zoonotic souvenirs of some 50 millennia of migrations from Alaska to Patagonia. Among the most serious zoonoses would have been infection by cystic hydatid larvae of echinococcid tapeworms, the many enzootic filarial worms, and a variety of larval trematodes and nematodes.

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center