Ancient parasites from endemic deer from 'CUEVA PARQUE DIANA' archeological site, Patagonia, Argentina

The narrow Andean-Patagonian temperate rainforest strip in the west of southern South America is inhabited by two endemic species of cervids, the southern pudu (Pudu puda) and the huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus), both cataloged as near threatened and threatened species, respectively. One of the possible causes of their declined number is the susceptibility to livestock diseases. Significant zooarchaeological records of both deer have been found throughout the Holocene from Patagonia. The present contribution reports the first paleoparasitological results obtained from coprolites of endemic deer from the archeological site 'Cueva Parque Diana,' Neuqu,n Province, Argentina, and discusses the possible diseases found in ancient times. Thirty-four coprolites were fully processed, rehydrated, homogenized, sieved, subjected to spontaneous sedimentation, and examined by light microscopy. Thirty samples contained parasite remains. The presence of diverse parasitic diseases such as trematodioses, metastrongylosis, trichuriosis, strongylida gastroenteritis, dioctophymosis, and coccidiosis which could cause diseases in deer previous to the arrival of European livestock and the presence of zoonotic diseases in the hunters-gatherers and fishermen are discussed.

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