(CN) — Researchers digging through the contents of two medieval latrines have turned up new information about the intestinal health of ancient communities in what is now Europe and the Middle East, according to a new study released Sunday.
The findings provide rare insight into the microbiomes of pre-industrial, agriculture-based communities and could help contemporary scientists better interpret the microbial diversity in nations around the world, researcher Piers Mitchell of Cambridge University said in a statement attached to the study.
“These latrines gave us much more representative information about the wider pre-industrial population of these regions than an individual faecal sample would have,” Mitchell said. “Combining evidence from light microscopy and ancient DNA analysis allows us to identify the amazing variety of organisms present in the intestines of our ancestors who lived centuries ago.”
Prior research has established that microbiomes —