Prehistoric faeces found close to the United Kingdom's Stonehenge has provided an insight into the dining habits of the inhabitants who lived there close to 4,500 years ago. An analysis of the preserved faeces samples found that it contained eggs of parasitic worms.
A research team led by the University of Cambridge investigated 19 different samples of faeces out of which five of them were found to have these eggs. Out of the five, one is believed to be of human and four appear to be of dogs. According to The Guardian, the team says the preserved stools are not only the oldest coprolites in Britain to contain parasites, but the earliest evidence for parasite infection in Britain where the species of the hosts are known.
According to Sky News, the lead author of the study Dr Piers Mitchell said, “This is the first time intestinal parasites have been recovered from Neolithic Britain, and to find them in the environment of Stonehenge is really something… The type of parasites we find are compatible with previous evidence for winter feasting on animals during the building of Stonehenge.”
The researchers have suggested that the reason for the presence of these parasites eggs could be due to the animal being eaten being undercooked or raw, or even from an infected animal.
According to Sky News, co-author Evilena Anastasiou who also assisted with the research said, “Finding the eggs of capillariid worms in both human and dog coprolites indicates that the people had been eating the internal organs of infected animals, and also fed the leftovers to their dogs."