Retrieving ascarid and taeniid eggs from the biological remains of a Neolithic dog from the late 9th millennium BC in Western Iran

<div><p> BACKGROUND Paleoparasitology reveals the status of parasitic infections in humans and animals in ancient times based on parasitic particles found in biological remains from archaeological excavations. This line of research emerged in Iran in 2013. OBJECTIVE The identification of parasites from Neolithic times is an attractive subject that shows the oldest origins of parasitic infections in a given geographical region. From an archaeological point of view, this archaeological site is well-known for animal domestication and agriculture in ancient Iran. METHODS In this study, soil deposited on the surface and in the pores of a dog pelvic bone was carefully collected and rehydrated using trisodium phosphate solution. FINDINGS The results showed ascarid and taeniid eggs retrieved from the biological remains of a dog excavated at the East Chia Sabz archaeological site, which dates back to the Neolithic period (8100 BC). MAIN CONCLUSION The current findings clearly illustrate the natural circulation of nematode and cestode parasites among dogs at that time. These ancient helminth eggs can also be used to track the oldest parasitic infections in the Iranian plateau and contribute to the paleoparasitological documentation of the Fertile Crescent.</p></div>