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The mummy of a dog has provided archaeological evidence of blood-sucking parasites from plagues of the time of Fido's ancestors, in Egypt during the classical era of the Roman Empire.
These parasites were preserved on his skin and in one ear and possibly transmitted diseases that led to the death of the puppy. French archaeologists found the hound while studying hundreds of mummified dogs at the El Deir archaeological site in Egypt in 2010 and 2011.
“We know of the existence of this type of parasites from the writings of Greek and Latin scholars, but we have not found archaeological evidence so far”Declared Jean-Bernard Huchet, an archaeologist-entomologist at the Natural History Museum in Paris.
The remains of the dog were found in a grave that surrounds the 3rd century AD Roman fort. Most of the tombs date from 4th century BC. Specifically, Huchet and his team, led by Françoise Dunand and Roger Lichtenberg, from the University of Strasbourg in France, found the remains among more than 400 dog mummies. “Most of them were wrapped in bandages; others have been attacked by looters.Huchet commented.
Although the mummified body had more than 60 ticks on its skin and nests in one ear, the researchers do not rule out that the animal died due to a disease called canine babesiosis, which destroys blood cells.
The remnants of his hardened hide attracted various types of flying parasites, before the Egyptians started the mummification process. The Egyptians used to mummify animals such as dogs, cats and a species of bird whose legs were long and was called ibis. In the case of the dog mummies found in the archaeological site of El Deir, they appear to be offerings made to the Egyptian gods Anubis or perhaps Wepwawet.
According Cecile Callou, an archaeologist-zoologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, there are several reasons to justify that the Egyptians mummified their animals: “to eat in the afterlife and to be accompanied by pets. But above all as an association of the animal with divine incarnations”.
The parasites found in the remains may offer clues about the origin and spread of diseases throughout history, as well as their relationship with humans. To do this, investigators need to obtain authorization to transfer the remains to the laboratory.
I am currently studying Journalism and Audiovisual Communication at the Rey Juan Carlos University, which has made me inclined towards the international section, including the study of languages. For this reason, I do not rule out dedicating myself to teaching. I also like to practice physical exercise and spend a pleasant time chatting with my acquaintances and with new people. Lastly, I enjoy traveling to know the authentic culture of each region of the world, although I admit that before I need to find out as much as possible about the place I'm going to visit, to fully enjoy the experience.