King Richard III Carried Intestinal Parasites

First Posted: Sep 04, 2013 02:21 PM EDT

Researchers just discovered a new thing about the hunchback monarch known as King Richard III. Upon recovering his skeleton, parasitic worms that grew up to an inch long were found in his stomach.

As the noble's remains were dug up last year beneath a parking lot in Leicester, researchers said they discovered numerous roundworm eggs in the soil near his pelvis where his intestines would have been. Soil samples taken near his skull and surrounding burial area had no traces of eggs, leading the researchers to suspect a gastrointestinal issue.

"I would say this is 100 percent proof that he had a roundworm infection," because there "is no other explanation" for the large amount of roundworms found where his intestines once lay, lead researcher Piers Mitchell said, via LiveScience.

Yet researchers believe that this did not do any serious damage to King Richard III. Background information from the study notes that in children with the problem, it could result in stunted growth or reduced IQ, but the king's diet would not have created such problems.

Although rare in the United Kingdom, roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides) is the most common health condition in the world today, affecting one in four people globally.

"Our results show that Richard was infected with roundworms in his intestines, although no other species of intestinal parasite were present in the samples we studied," Mitchell said, according to the BBC. "We would expect nobles of this period to have eaten meats such as beef, pork and fish regularly, but there was no evidence for the eggs of the beef, pork or fish tapeworm. This may suggest that his food was cooked thoroughly, which would have prevented the transmission of these parasites."

Signs and symptoms of a roundworm infection, all of which may have been experienced by King Richard III, include the following: cough, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea, blood in the stool, weight loss, fatigue, presence of the worm in vomit or stool, etc, 

More information regarding these findings can be seen via the Lancet

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science news.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics