Paleoparasitological Finding of Eggs of Nematodes in Rodent Coprolites Dated at the Early Holocene From the Archaeological Site Cerro Casa de Piedra 7, Santa Cruz, Argentina

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Abstract

The aim of the present study was to examine the parasite remains present in rodent coprolites collected from the archaeological site Cerro Casa de Piedra 7 (CCP7), located in the Perito Moreno National Park (47°57′S, 72°05′W), Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Eight coprolites obtained from the layer 17, dated at 10,620± 40 to 9,390 ± 40 yr B.P., were examined for parasites. Feces were processed whole, rehydrated, homogenized, subjected to spontaneous sedimentation, and examined via light microscopy. Eggs of parasites were measured and photographed. Seven of 8 coprolites possessed 199 eggs of 2, probably new, species of nematodes, including 43 eggs of Heteroxynema sp. Hall, 1916 (Cavioxyura sp. Quentin, 1975) (Oxyurida, Heteroxynematidae), and 156 eggs of Trichuris sp. Roederer, 1761 (Trichinellida, Trichuridae). Heteroxynema sp. is cited for the first time from ancient material worldwide. The finding of Trichuris spp. in both rodents and other host samples from the area under study is indicative of the stability of the biological and environmental conditions for this nematode genus to establish in the Patagonian Early Holocene. The rodent host was assigned to an unknown species of Caviomorpha (Hystricognathi) that lived during the Pleistocenic transition in Patagonia.

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