Ticks have never been reported in archaeological analyses. Here, we present the discovery of a tick from a coprolite excavated from Antelope Cave in extreme northwest Arizona. Dietary analysis indicates that the coprolite has a human origin. This archaeological occupation is associated with the Ancestral Pueblo culture (Anasazi). This discovery supports previous hypotheses that ticks were a potential source of disease and that ectoparasites were eaten by ancient people.
A Tick From a Prehistoric Arizona Coprolite
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Keith L. Johnson, Karl J. Reinhard, Luciana Sianto, Adauto Araújo, Scott L. Gardner, John Janovy; A Tick From a Prehistoric Arizona Coprolite. J Parasitol 1 February 2008; 94 (1): 296–298. doi: https://doi.org/10.1645/GE-1059.1
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