Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New research shows that Richard III suffered from roundworm infection

Date:
September 3, 2013
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Researchers have uncovered evidence that Richard III suffered from a roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides infection.

Microscope image of the roundworm egg.
Credit: Copyright Piers Mitchell

Researchers based at the University of Cambridge and the University of Leicester have uncovered evidence that Richard III suffered from a roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides) infection, according to a Clinical Picture published in The Lancet.

The body of Richard III, who ruled England from 1483 -- 85, was discovered in 2012 by archaeologists at the University of Leicester, and scientists have since been undertaking careful analysis of the remains, in an attempt to shed further light on the attributes and history of the controversial king.

A team of researchers led by Dr Piers Mitchell, of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, UK, used a powerful microscope to examine soil samples taken from the skeleton's pelvis and skull, as well as from the soil surrounding the grave. The microscope revealed multiple roundworm eggs in the soil sample taken from the pelvis, where the intestines would have been situated in life. However, there was no sign of eggs in soil from the skull, and very few eggs in the soil that surrounded the grave, suggesting that the eggs found in the pelvis area resulted from a genuine roundworm infection during his life, rather than from external contamination by the later dumping of human waste in the area.

Roundworms are parasitic nematodes, which infect humans when people ingest their eggs via contaminated food, water, or soil. Once eaten, the eggs hatch into larvae, which migrate through the tissues of the body to the lungs where they mature. They then crawl up the airways to the throat to be swallowed back into the intestines, where they can grow into adults around a foot long. Roundworm infection is thought to be one of the commonest health conditions in the world, affecting up to a quarter of all people globally, although it is rare in the UK today.

According to Dr Mitchell, "Our results show that Richard was infected with roundworms in his intestines, although no other species of intestinal parasite were present in the samples we studied. We would expect nobles of this period to have eaten meats such as beef, pork and fish regularly, but there was no evidence for the eggs of the beef, pork or fish tapeworm. This may suggest that his food was cooked thoroughly, which would have prevented the transmission of these parasites."

Dr Jo Appleby, Lecturer in Human Bioarchaeology at the University of Leicester, UK, said: "Despite Richard's noble background, it appears that his lifestyle did not completely protect him from intestinal parasite infection, which would have been very common at the time."

The Dig for Richard III was led by the University of Leicester, working with Leicester City Council and in association with the Richard III Society. The originator of the Search project was Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Piers D Mitchell, Hui-Yuan Yeh, Jo Appleby, Richard Buckley. The intestinal parasites of King Richard III. The Lancet, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61757-2

Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "New research shows that Richard III suffered from roundworm infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903193803.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2013, September 3). New research shows that Richard III suffered from roundworm infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903193803.htm
University of Leicester. "New research shows that Richard III suffered from roundworm infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903193803.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
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