Around the World July 1, 2011


SUDAN: Study of more than 200 Nubian mummies shows that these ancient people struggled with schistosomiasis, a water-borne disease caused by parasitic worms that still infects millions of people today. The study looked at mummies from two populations between 1,000 and 1,500 years old—one that practiced irrigation agriculture and one that did not. Those who practiced irrigation were almost three times as likely to be infected, which shows how human alteration of the environment has helped spread the disease.

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    Etruscan Hanging Oil Lamp
    (Courtesy Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona; © DeA Picture Library/Art Resource, NY)
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    (Phillip Parton/ANU)
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    Indonesia Java Gunung Padang Megalithic Site
    (Courtesy Lutfi Yondri)