Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
ARAUJO, Adauto; FERREIRA, Luiz Femando; CONFALONIERI, Ulisses and CHAME, Marcia. Hookworms and the peopling of America. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 1988, vol.4, n.2, pp. 226-233. ISSN 0102-311X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X1988000200006.
The occurrence of certain parasites in human groups from different regions has been used to study the geographical origin of both hosts and parasites. The presence of hookworm infection in an isolated tribe in remote regions of Paraguay led to speculations about its origin, since the prehistoric migrations through the Behring Land Bridge could not have brought the parasite, which needs for its mantenance a temperature of about 22ºC in the soil. It was then proposed that only transpacific migrations of Asiatic populations could have brought the parasite to America. This discussion dates back to the beginning of this Century and it was only with recent paleoparasitological findings that it arose again. This paper is a review of hookworm findings in archaeological material and suggests possible routes followed by their hosts to reach the New World.
Keywords : hookworms in archaeological material; paleoparasitology; peopling of America.