It might sometimes be hard to believe in an era when satellites and fiber optics bring news flash news from the present around the globe at the speed of light, but there is still tons to discover about the past. And archaeologists, often aided by advanced technology, find new pieces of information all the time.
For example, when a research team scanned the mummified corpse of a Korean mummy who died 375 years ago, they did not expect to find — wait for it — eggs.
According to The Journal of Parasitology, the mummy was found in excellent condition — and example of mummification from Korea’s Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The not-so-recently deceased, a man named Jing Lee, was taken in for study, and that study turned up some fascinating results.
When the body received a CT scan, it revealed a lump in his liver that held an “a large number” of eggs from a parasitic fluke.
Anyone here watched “X-Files”? Flukeman, anybody?
The researchers believe they “have identified the Joseon-cultural practice of ingesting raw freshwater crustaceans either as a seasonal delicacy (raw crabs spiced with soybean sauces) or as a medication for measles (crayfish juice)” as the source of the parasitic anomaly. At the time, it was believed that “crayfish juice” could cure measles.
Whatever the case, it was clear Jing Lee wasn’t living by himself — he had a giant parasite living in him, and one healthy enough to be laying eggs to boot. And to think it might have been given to him as a way of curing measles.
Man, am I glad that little bit of medicinal tradition is no longer common practice.
Can you imagine if this guy had both measles and this parasite? What an awful way to go!
Even so, this man is almost certainly not the only one during this time period to have suffered in this way.
We don’t know everything about our bodies — not even close. But we do know enough that this is not so much a problem here in the United States, and thank God for that.