Original Article

Herbivores Coprolites from Chehrabad Salt Mine of Zanjan, Iran (Sassanid Era, 224-651 AD) Reveals Eggs of Strongylidae and Anoplocephalidae Helminths


Background: The ancient Chehrabad Salt mine, a well-known archaeological site in Iran, has recently received increasing interest from Iranian and international archeologists. Also, the biological remains from this site have provided valuable sources for studying the pathogenic agents of ancient times. This study aimed to identify the parasitic helminth eggs preserved in the herbivores coprolites.

Methods: From 2011 to 2015, we received three coprolites belonging to herbivorous animals recovered during excavations in Chehrabad Salt mine of Zanjan, Iran. The coprolites were dated back to the Sassanid era (224-651 AD) by using radiocarbon accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and archeological stratigraphy methods. Following rehydration of the specimens in a 0.5% trisodium phosphate solution, the suspensions were mounted in glycerin jelly on glass slides and examined by a light microscope with 100x and 400x magnifications.

Results: Two coprolites belonged to donkeys and one to an unknown herbivore species. The recovered eggs belonged to members of two helminths families, Strongylidae, and Anoplocephalidae. Also, within the two coprolites, some mites, presumably of the order Oribatida, were observed.

Conclusion: The presence of two different nematodes in the equids coprolites provide clues of the burden of helminths infection on working animal at the Sassanid time and demonstrates the appropriate preservation condition of biological remains in the ancient salt mine of Chehrabad as well.

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IssueVol 15 No 1 (2020) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article(s)
DOI https://doi.org/10.18502/ijpa.v15i1.2533
Paleoparasitology Herbivores Strongyle Anoplocephalan Iran

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How to Cite
MEIGOUNI M, MAKKI M, HANILOO A, ASKARI Z, MOBEDI I, NADDAF SR, BOENKE N, STOLLNER T, AALI A, HEIDARI Z, MOWLAVI G. Herbivores Coprolites from Chehrabad Salt Mine of Zanjan, Iran (Sassanid Era, 224-651 AD) Reveals Eggs of Strongylidae and Anoplocephalidae Helminths. Iran J Parasitol. 2020;15(1):109-114.