Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Citation: Araújo A, Reinhard KJ, Ferreira LF, Gardner SL (2008) Parasites: probes for evidence of prehistoric human migrations. Trends in Parasitology (in press). Galley proofs.


Host-specific parasites of humans are used to track ancient migrations. The archaeoparasitology of some intestinal parasites in the New World points to migration routes other than the Bering Land Bridge. Helminths have been found in mummies and coprolites in North and South America. Hookworms (Necator and Ancylostoma), whipworms (Trichuris trichiura) and other helminths require specific conditions for life-cycle completion. They could not survive in the cold climate of the northern region of the Americas. Therefore, humans would have lost some intestinal parasites while crossing Beringia. Evidence is provided here from published data of pre-Columbian sites for the peopling of the Americas through trans-oceanic or costal migrations.