Friday, November 14, 2014

New Publication of Our Lab: Making an animal model for Korean mummy studies

Anthropol. Anz. 71/4 (2014), pp. 469–488 Article
J. Biol. Clinic. Anthropol. Stuttgart, November, 2014 www.schweizerbart.de

Making an animal model for Korean mummy studies
Chang Seok Oh and Dong Hoon Shin

The recent findings of a series of thorough investigations into Korean mummies notwithstanding, many questions on the exact mechanism of the mummification process remain. For the purposes of a more comprehensive understanding of this mechanism, we employed an animal model involving Sprague-Dawley rats and miniature lime-soil-mixture barrier (LSMB)-surrounded Joseon tombs constructed in our lab. The results showed that long-duration burial in these LSMB tombs successfully induced animal mummification. Indeed, our gross and microscopic examinations confirmed that the rats were perfectly mummified in the manner of actual Korean mummies dating to the Joseon period. In light of the fact that the extent of mummification was not remarkable in other miniature tombs without LSMB, it seemed that the LSMB is somehow closely correlated with mummification in Korea. In the future, use of the present animal models and miniature tombs no doubt will experimentally verify the many possible factors operative in the specific mechanism of mummification in Korea.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Our New Publication: Infection patterns of trematode parasites among Joseon people

Our new paper on "Infection patterns of trematode parasites among Joseon people" is out (J Korean Med Assoc. 2014 Oct;57(10):866-875. Korean).

While paleoparasitologists in Korea reported scientific evidences for the infection patterns of various parasite species among the pre-modern Joseon people, historical study is also needed for understanding the socio-cultural aspects of parasitic infections of the past. In this study on the historical documents, we revealed the socio-cultural environment of Joseon society by which people were easily infected by trematode parasites. The historical records showed that Joseon people enjoyed raw fish cuisines, that might have caused Clonorchis sinensis and Metagonimus yokogawai infection, much more frequently than originally expected. It is also proven that Joseon people ate raw crab and crayfish, the intermediate host of Paragonimus westermani, as the seasonal delicacy or miracle cure drug for incurable diseases. We also found many Joseon records on raw-oyster dishes, possibly having caused Gymnophalloides seoi infection among the people. By this study, we could get the historical clues on how Joseon people could have been infected by various trematode parasites. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

NEW PUBLICATION: FINDING POSSIBLE LATRINE SITES BY PARASITOLOGICAL EXAMINATION IN ANCIENT ARCHAEOLOICAL SAMPLES



V-shaped Pits in Regions of Ancient Baekje Kingdom Paleoparasitologically Confirmed as Likely Human-Waste Reservoirs.

Korean J Parasitol. 2014 Oct;52(5):569-73. doi: 10.3347/kjp.2014.52.5.569. Epub 2014 Oct 22.

Shin DH, Shim SY, Kim MJ, Oh CS, Lee MH, Jung SB, Lee GI, Chai JY, Seo M.

In a paleo-parasitological analysis of soil samples obtained from V-shaped pits dating to the ancient Baekje period in Korean history, we discovered Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and Clonorchis sinensis eggs. In light of the samples' seriously contaminated state, the V-shaped pits might have served as toilets, cesspits, or dung heaps. For a long period of time, researchers scouring archaeological sites in Korea have had difficulties locating such structures. In this context then, the present report is unique because similar kind of the ancient ruins must become an ideal resource for successful sampling in our forthcoming paleoparasitological studies.

Cited in About.com.... the subjects on Joseon Dynasty

Presentation at Bioinformatics Journal Club at CU



Recently, experts from various research fields made an interdisciplinary
collaboration on well-preserved cultural or human remains discovered in fifteenth- to
nineteenth-century Joseon tombs of Korea. The academic information acquired under
the interdisciplinary collaboration was significant to researchers in Korea because it is
entirely original and not to be commonly found in any library resource for historians.
This report is the first of full, detailed descriptions about the research on Joseon tomb,
by which the vivid glimpse of Joseon people’s lives could be reconstructed, based on
the clear archaeological, historical and biological evidences.