Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Possible Brucellosis in an Early Hominin Skeleton from Sterkfontein, South Africa

By Ruggero D'Anastasio, Bernhard Zipfel, Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi, Roscoe Stanyon and Luigi Capasso

Abstract

We report on the paleopathological analysis of the partial skeleton of the late Pliocene hominin species Australopithecus africanus Stw 431 from Sterkfontein, South Africa. A previous study noted the presence of lesions on vertebral bodies diagnosed as spondylosis deformans due to trauma. Instead, we suggest that these lesions are pathological changes due to the initial phases of an infectious disease, brucellosis. The macroscopic, microscopic and radiological appearance of the lytic lesions of the lumbar vertebrae is consistent with brucellosis. The hypothesis of brucellosis (most often associated with the consumption of animal proteins) in a 2.4 to 2.8 million year old hominid has a host of important implications for human evolution. The consumption of meat has been regarded an important factor in supporting, directing or altering human evolution. Perhaps the earliest (up to 2.5 million years ago) paleontological evidence for meat eating consists of cut marks on animal remains and stone tools that could have made these marks. Now with the hypothesis of brucellosis in A. africanus, we may have evidence of occasional meat eating directly linked to a fossil hominin

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2713413
Provided by: PubMed Central

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1999). A hypothesis to explain the role of meat-eating in human evolution.
  2. (2009). A novel Brucella isolate in association with two cases of stillbirth in non-human primates - first report.
  3. (1991). An evolutionary framework for assessing illness and injury in nonhuman primates.
  4. (1974). Aspects of pathology and death among early hominids.
  5. (1995). Bacterial infections: Osteoarticular brucellosis.
  6. (1989). Bone and joint imaging.
  7. (2002). Brief communication: Revised age estimates of Australopithecus-bearing deposits at Sterkfontein, South Africa.
  8. (1989). Brucella species.
  9. (1991). Brucellar and tuberculous spondylitis. A comparative study of their clinical features.
  10. (1999). Brucellosis at Herculaneum.
  11. (2001). Brucellosis in early Bronze Age Jordan and Bahrain: an analysis of possible cases of Brucella spondylitis.
  12. (2002). Brucellosis in wildlife. Rev sci tech Off int
  13. (1960). Brucellosis of the bones and joints: Experience with 36 patients.
  14. (1976). Brucellosis of the spine.
  15. (1988). Brucellosis: appearance on skeletal imaging.
  16. (1949). Brucellotic osteomyelitis of man and animal.
  17. (1948). Brucellotic osteomyelitis of the spinal column in man.
  18. (1988). Chronology of South African australopiths site units.
  19. (1986). Clinica de la brucelosis humana.
  20. (1958). Craig A
  21. (1932). Die Fa ¨lle von Spondylitis
  22. (1989). Early hominid hunting and scavenging: the role of meat as an energy source.
  23. (1985). Early hominids in southern Africa: updated observations on chronological and ecological background.
  24. (1994). Early Pleistocene hominid foraging strategies along the ancestral Omo River at Koobi Fora,
  25. (1992). Evidence of a healed compression fracture in a PlioPleistocene hominid talus from Sterkfontein, South Africa.
  26. (2007). Evolution of the Human Diet The Known, the Unknown, and the Unknowable.
  27. (2007). Evolution of the human diet: the known, the unknown, and the unknowable.
  28. (1995). Faunal assemblage serration of Southern African Pliocene and Pleistocene fossil deposits.
  29. (1994). Hunting decisions in wild chimpanzees.
  30. (2001). I fuggiaschi di Ercolano. Roma: L’Erma di Bretschneider.
  31. (2003). Identification of Pathological Conditions in Human Skeletal Remains.
  32. (1994). Infections in bones and joints. Boston: Blackwell Scientific Publications.
  33. (1986). Insect and meat eating among infant and adult baboons (Papio cynocephalus)
  34. (1993). Intervertebral disc herniations (limbus vertebrae) in pediatric patients: report of 15 cases.
  35. (2006). Isotopic Evidence for Dietary Variability in the Early Hominin Paranthropus robustus.
  36. (1999). Isotopic Evidence for the Diet of an Early Hominid, Australopithecus africanus.
  37. (1944). La Brucelosis Humana. Barcelona: Ed Salvat.
  38. (2007). Lysis at the anterior vertebral body margin: evidence for brucellar spondylitis?
  39. (1999). Meat Eating and Hominid Evolution.
  40. (1996). Meat Eating, Hominid Sociality, and Home Bases Revisited.
  41. (2001). Meat-Eating and Human Evolution.
  42. (1972). Metabolic, Degenerative, and Inflammatory Disease of Bones and Joints. Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger.
  43. (2002). Musculoskeletal involvement of brucellosis in different age groups: a study of 195 cases.
  44. (2008). New evidence for hominin carcass processing strategies at 1.5
  45. (1988). Osteoarticular brucellosis: results of bone scintigraphy in 140 patients.
  46. (1987). Osteoarticular complications of brucellosis: a study of 169 cases.
  47. (2001). Paravertebral abscess formation due to brucellosis in a patient with ankylosing spondylitis.
  48. (1994). Patterns of predation by chimpanzees on red colobus monkeys in Gombe National Park,
  49. (2002). Radiographic diagnosis of Limbus vertebra on a lateral cephalometric film: report of a case.
  50. (1991). Skeletal brucellosis: assessment with bone scintigraphy.
  51. (2003). Stratigraphic, chronological and behavioural contexts of Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash,
  52. (2000). Stratigraphy, artifact industries and hominid associations for Sterkfontein, Member 5.
  53. (1986). Studies of hominid—Faunal interactions at Olduvai George.
  54. (2007). The EB IA tombs and burials of Bab edh-Dhra, Jordan: A bioarchaeological perspective on the people.
  55. (1969). The Emergence of Man.
  56. (2002). The first documented occurrence of spondylosis deformans in an early hominin.
  57. (1976). The limbus vertebra: an anterior disc herniation demonstrated by discography.
  58. (1956). The Nature of Brucellosis.
  59. (1994). The Pathology of the Kanam Mandible.
  60. (2003). The third partial skeleton of a late Pliocene hominin (Stw 431) from Sterkfontein, South Africa.
  61. (1982). Trauma among the Shanidar Neandertals.
  62. (1965). Tuberculosis of Bone and Joint. London ENG:
  63. (2006). Two possible cases of brucellosis from a Clarist monastery in Alca ´cer do Sal,
  64. (1994). Vertebral epiphysitis: early signs of brucellar disease.
  65. (1983). Vertebral pathology in the Afar australopithecines.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.