Re: Parasites and paleoanthropology

Paul Crowley (
Thu, 25 Jul 96 23:06:02 GMT

In article <> "Paul Crowley" writes:

> It *might* be possible for dracunculus to survive in a nomadic
> population
> The parasite lives in the snails for a while
> and then moves to a crustacean which is consumed by humans when
> they drink the water.

This is not correct. I was relying on memory. Always a mistake.
Dracunculus only uses crustaceans as an intermediate host. It
does *not* parasitise snails. I must have been confusing it with
schistosomiasis (bilharzia).

So if Dracunculus takes a year to mature, it could tie in its
activity with an annual wet season. Or annual not-too-wet and
not-too-dry season. But does it take a year to mature? I don't
know. Does anyone? A definite annual cycle in this and similar
parasites could give us useful information on early hss/hominid
habitats. Does anyone know anything? Is anyone doing any work
in this animal while it still exists? Is anyone doing anything
on parasites WRT human/hominid evolution?