Mosquitoes and Malaria in Ancient Roman Remains first appeared on the Backyard Bug Patrol blog.
A recent study has revealed that malaria caused as much devastation back in the days of the Roman Empire as it does today. There has been DNA evidence discovered in ancient teeth that the mosquito borne disease was very much the killer that it is today.
The researchers conducted an analysis of teeth samples from the remains of 58 adults and 10 children who were buried in three cemeteries in Italy from the time of the Roman Empire. They recovered the mitochondrial genomic evidence of Plasmodium falciparum despite the bodies having been buried 2,000 years ago.
It is truly incredible what osteology can tell us today about our past. Here’s a video with a little more information about the discovery
You know the old saying, “life imitates art?” Well it turns out that it’s true, because not only did we find a piece of amber with prehistoric bugs trapped in the amber….But a piece of actual dinosaur tail was trapped in it as well.
With mosquitoes being so adaptable and building up their defenses against our methods of protection and prevention, it’s no wonder they have survived this long. These critters continue to be a very real threat to the world, so make sure you protect yourself from them. Malaria may not be an imminent threat in your part of the world, but they carry many more life threatening diseases too.