The history of the human microbiome

Insights from archaeology and ancient DNA

Authored by: Laura S. Weyrich

Multispecies Archaeology

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138898981
eBook ISBN: 9781315707709
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315707709-15

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Abstract

The primary focus of archaeology has historically centered around humans, and their actions and impacts on this earth. However, the focus of this book has revolved around understanding the multispecies interactions that have occurred throughout time. Intriguingly, many of the impacts and alterations from human life and adaptation have gone unseen, and remains largely unexamined to this day. Microorganisms coat every surface of the earth – the ground we walk on, the air we breathe, the bodies we live in, the water we drink, and the animals and artifacts we interact with on a daily basis. Every decision, movement, and interaction that humans have with the earth impacts these microorganisms. Therefore, it has become critical to examine these diverse microbial communities in the world, and examine how human activity altered and impacted these inter-species relationships. While a unique form of multispecies interaction, the relationship humans have with the microorganisms that live within the body – the microbiota – is a critical one for understanding the ramifications of human activity in the past.

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