Monday , January 18 2021

El Pais: People are already worrying about their disabilities 200,000 years ago

In 1963, archaeologist Paolo Graziosi in the southern part of Apennine (Italy) discovered a double burial some 12,000 years ago, where it seemed that the largest body seemed to be the smallest. Already then, Archaeologists have seen something strange in these remains They called Romita 2. Years later, it was found that he was a young man in the twenties who had acromesomal dysplasia. Graziosi found the first dwarf of prehistory. It is a very rare disease that occurs in less than one case per two million and one of a dozen bone anomalies found in the fossil record. How did he survive so much at the time of the hunters? Were there any more skeletal deformities than now?

"No. This only reinforces the exceptional fact that there was a case in the Palaeolithic period," said Eric Trinkaus, professor of anthropology at the University of Washington, San Luis. This authority in the biology and evolution of Neanderthals collected anomalies of the bones identified in the remains of hominins of the genus Homo (sapiens, denisovanos, neandertales) found in the fossil record. In deformities from the past I asked for the prevalence of these diseases in people of that time, but also point to their life and the way they were treated.

The paper, published in PNAS, examined it 77 pathology detected in 66 copies, most of them 200,000 years and more, that is, in the final part of the Pleistocene. Not all anomalies are extreme or rare as Romito 2. But there are other common forms of dwarfism, such as achondroplasia and other systemic disorders, such as hypophosphataemia or hydrocephalus. There are also cases of craniosinostosis, in which the skulls of the newborn are prematurely connected or spondylosis (resembling a herniated disc) in the sprayed L5 of one of the remains of Atapuerz.

Perhaps 77 changes of skeletons do not look much, but given the scarcity of human fossils, the number is extremely high. In addition, these are conditions that, due to biological necessity, are not very common among people today. Thus, the probability of a single copy being found in the fossil record It must be near zero. About a third of the disease appears as moderately frequent, with expected anomalies of 1% to 5% of cases. Most of the others are extremely rare in fossil record and in modern humans, from 0.01 to 0.1%. There are even cases for which there are no current references.

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