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LONDON – In a skeleton more than 6,200 years old, scientists have found the earliest known evidence of infection with a parasitic worm that now afflicts more than 200 million people worldwide.Archaeologists discovered a parasite egg near the pelvis of a child skeleton in northern Syria and say it dates back to a time when ancient societies first used irrigation systems to grow crops. Scientists suspect the new farming technique meant people were spending a lot of time wading in warm water -- ideal conditions for the parasites to jump into humans. That may have triggered outbreaks of the water-borne flatworm disease known as schistosomiasis."The invention of irrigation was a major technological breakthrough (but) it had unintended consequences," said Gil Stein, a professor of Near Eastern archaeology at the University of Chicago, one of the report's authors. "A more reliable food supply came at the cost of more disease," he wrote in an email.
Democrats existed 6,200 years ago?