Ancient people with rare diseases reveal much about their communities
The study of the remains of ancient people with rare diseases is revealing surprising insights into societies of the past. People with physically weakening conditions such as adult T-cell leukemia were supported by their communities. Others with conditions such as dwarfism and cleft palate were revered, rather than ostracized.
Regents’ Professor Jane Buikstra, a bioarchaeologist in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, commented on the unique lens these people provide into ancient life.
“We want to use the individual as a prism to look at the community,” she said.
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