Parasitism is inherent to life and observed in all species. Extinct animals have been studied to understand what they looked like, where and how they lived, what they fed on, and the reasons they became extinct. Paleoparasitology helps to clarify these questions based on the study of the parasites and microorganisms that infected those animals, using as a source material coprolites, fossils in rock, tissue, bone, mummy, and amber, analyses of ancient DNA, immunodiagnosis, and microscopy.

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