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Open Access A probable case of congenital syphilis from pre-Columbian Austria

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This study examines the skeletal remains of a subadult from an archeological site in Austria. Radiocarbon dating and archeological attribution indicate that this individual is of pre-Columbian origin. Most of the skeleton was recovered, and only the teeth and the orbital roofs show changes. Dental defects such as the mulberry molar and a tapered, fang-like canine suggest a diagnosis of congenital syphilis. This is the first probable case of congenital syphilis from pre-Columbian Central Europe. Our findings contribute to the pre-Columbian theory, offering counterevidence to the assumption that syphilis was carried from Columbus' crew from the New to the Old World.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2015

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  • Anthropologischer Anzeiger is an international journal of human biology. It publishes original research papers on all fields of human biological research, that is, on all aspects, theoretical and practical of studies of human variability, including application of molecular methods and their tangents to cultural and social anthropology.

    Other than research papers, Anthropologischer Anzeiger invites the submission of case studies, reviews, technical notes and short reports.
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