Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ovarian tumor, with teeth and a bone fragment inside, found in a Roman-age skeleton

Date:
January 24, 2013
Source:
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Summary:
A team of researchers has found the first ancient remains of a calcified ovarian teratoma, in the pelvis of the skeleton of a woman from the Roman era. The find confirms the presence in antiquity of this type of tumor -- formed by the remains of tissues or organs, which are difficult to locate during the examination of ancient remains. Inside the small round mass, four teeth and a small piece of bone were found.

This shows an ovarian tumor, with teeth and a bone fragment inside, found in a Roman-age skeleton: Macroscopic view of the ovarian teratoma, with two teeth adhering to the inner surface. Two more teeth were found, along with a small bone fragment.
Credit: ANTROPÒLEGS.LAB - UAB

A team of researchers led by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona has found the first ancient remains of a calcified ovarian teratoma, in the pelvis of the skeleton of a woman from the Roman era. The find confirms the presence in antiquity of this type of tumour -- formed by the remains of tissues or organs, which are difficult to locate during the examination of ancient remains. Inside the small round mass, four teeth and a small piece of bone were found.

Teratomas are usually benign and contain remains of organic material, such as hair, teeth, bones and other tissues. There are no references in the literature to ovarian teratomas in ancient remains like those found in this study, led by the researcher Núria Armentano of the Biological Anthropology Unit of the UAB and published in the International Journal of Paleopathology.

The tumour in question is rounded in shape, with a wrinkled surface, of the same colour as the bones, about 43 mm long and 44 mm in diameter. It was found in the right-hand part of the pelvis of a woman of between 30 and 40 years of age and who lived around 1,600 years ago, and came from the Roman cemetery in the archaeological site of La Fogonussa (Lleida). A macroscopic examination and a scan revealed four teeth of anomalous morphology inside the tumour, two of which were adhering to the inside wall of the tumour, and a small bone fragment.

"The calcification and preservation of the external walls of this tumour are exceptional, since these types of remains usually only retain the internal structures and the extremely fragile external ones disappear," explains Assumpció Malgosa, co-author of the study.

In fact, there are very few differential diagnoses of pelvic and abdominal calcifications in archaeological contexts, among other reasons because it is so difficult to determine their nature -- they could be kidney stones, fibromas, teratomas, arterial remains, etc. etc. Moreover, they are hard to spot during the excavation and can easily be mistaken for stones.

Teratomas are asymptomatic in 60% of cases, but on occasion they cause torsions and functional problems in nearby organs, by compression when they are large. Pregnancy seems to favour certain complications in teratomas, such as complications on giving birth. Nevertheless, nowadays they seldom grow large and calcify even less often, because they are detected and operated on very early.

In the case of the Roman woman the researchers do not discount the possibility that the tumour was the cause of death, though this cannot be certain. It is also possible that she lived all her life with the calcified tumour with no further complications.

The skeleton was recovered in 2010 during the excavation of 46 graves in La Fogonussa, and formed part of a total of 87 skeletons. It was complete and well-preserved, buried in a tile grave.

The study was carried out by researchers from the Biological Anthropology Unit of the UAB, ANTROPÒLEGS.LAB, the Institute of Legal Medicine of Catalonia, the Sacred Heart University Hospital of Barcelona and the Lleida-based company Iltirta Archaeology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Núria Armentano, Mercè Subirana, Albert Isidro, Oscar Escala, Assumpció Malgosa. An ovarian teratoma of late Roman age. International Journal of Paleopathology, 2012; 2 (4): 236 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2012.11.003

Cite This Page:

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. "Ovarian tumor, with teeth and a bone fragment inside, found in a Roman-age skeleton." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124091427.htm>.
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. (2013, January 24). Ovarian tumor, with teeth and a bone fragment inside, found in a Roman-age skeleton. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124091427.htm
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. "Ovarian tumor, with teeth and a bone fragment inside, found in a Roman-age skeleton." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124091427.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Where Did The World Trade Center Shipwreck Come From?

Where Did The World Trade Center Shipwreck Come From?

Newsy (July 31, 2014) — Scientists say a ship remnant discovered underneath Ground Zero dates back to the 18th century. Why it sank is still uncertain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

AP (July 29, 2014) — Food scraps and other items left on the grounds by picnickers brings unwelcome visitors to the grounds of the world famous and popular Louvre Museum in Paris. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London's Famed 'Gherkin' Goes on Sale for £650 Mln

London's Famed 'Gherkin' Goes on Sale for £650 Mln

AFP (July 29, 2014) — London's "Gherkin" office tower, one of the landmarks on the British capital's skyline, went on sale for about £650 million ($1.1 billion, 820 million euros) on Tuesday after being placed into receivership. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) — The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins