The History Of A Tapeworm

The History Of A Tapeworm

Tapeworms are disgusting no doubt but the history of a tapeworm is very intriguing and interesting. One of the things that you should know is that tapeworms are present all over the world and still scientists know very little about how and when did they first attack human beings.

Now, a zoologist from Parasite Biology, Epidemiology and Systematics Laboratory at Maryland has managed to make a startling discovery which is all set to debunk the beliefs and theories that have been in existence until now.

Earlier scientists believed that tapeworms started infecting humans around 10,000 years ago when domestication of cattle, pigs and dogs started. However, now it comes out that it was the humans who got the tapeworm first and then passed it on to domestic animals. There is scientific evidence to show that 10,000 years ago, the ancestor of modern man living in African Savannahs were the first to become hosts to the tapeworm. In fact, this occurred even before cattle and pigs were domesticated or before agriculture was developed.

In addition, scientists believe that the spread of tapeworm among humans may have been encouraged due to cannibalism and with humans eating dogs.

This definitely is interesting as scientists used to believe that dogs, cattle and swine gave the tapeworm to humans. Today, we know that the tapeworms can infect all types of mammals and this includes man and domestic animals. A tapeworm has a complex lifecycle where it requires an intermediate host and a final host. The intermediate host is always a herbivore and the final host is always a carnivore. It is the final host in which the adult tapeworm lives.

Around 2 million years ago, tapeworms were using hyenas and bovids as intermediate hosts. And it was during this time when the ancestors of modern man were preying on antelopes and other bovids for food. It is believed that it was then that the ancestors of modern man got exposed to tapeworms and this exposure is even continuing today.

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The History Of A Tapeworm