February 18, 2019
Latest News
Science & Technology

Ecuadorian mummy may hold clues to spread of rare malady

Quito, Jan 30 (epa-efe).- A mummified body discovered in the central Ecuadorian city of Guano may be the missing link to understanding the spread in Europe of rheumatoid polyarthritis, according to French scientist Philippe Charlier.

The 42-year-old Charlier has participated in projects such as researching Adolf Hitler's remains, as well as in studies of the remains of Joan of Arc and reconstituting the face of Maximilien Robespierre, among others.

Charlie arrived in Ecuador this week to study the "Guano mummy" and in his first examination of the remains on Tuesday, he found that the well-preserved body has deformations in both fingers and toes that are typical of rheumatoid polyarthritis.

"It's a disease native to Latin America and this may be the oldest case discovered with this disease," he told EFE.

For that reason, this mummy could be the "missing link that permits us to better know the origin and natural history of this disease," which was brought to Europe by returning Spanish conquistadors.

Studies determine that at the time of the conquest there were many cases of rheumatoid polyarthritis in the Americas and simultaneously "very rare" cases in Europe and Asia, he said.

"We are going to look for confirmation of the disease and (perform) genetic studies to learn the man's home region, why he developed the disease and what other diseases he had that could have favored the development of rheumatoid polyarthritis," Charlier said.

"This man possibly corresponds to a time when the two worlds met and exchanged germs," he said.

Charlier also will try to verify if the mummy found between the walls of a monastery is that of Lazaro de Santofimia, a Spanish Franciscan friar who died in his mid-40s.

Under Charlier's leadership, CT scans, hair sample analyses and genetic, fibroscopic and toxicological tests will be performed to determine facts about the way of life in the 16th century in what is now the Ecuadorian province of Chimborazo.

For Charlier - who traveled to Ecuador as a result of the efforts of the Alliance Française - the mummy could also be the missing link for other diseases.

The naturally mummified remains were found in 1949 while removing rubble from an earthquake.

Charlier, the head of research at the Musee du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris, said he was surprised by the excellent state of the mummy's preservation.

"It's not crumbling, it's not falling apart, there's no moisture and there's no mold, it's perfect," he said. "It's as if he's come from the 15th or 16th century to give us a message: Here's my story, my life."

By Susana Madera

News history
Chile, the perfect window on 2019's total eclipse of the sun

By Alberto Valdes Gomez

Spain gives family of ex-dictator Franco 15 days to suggest new burial site

Madrid, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- The family of military dictator Gen. Francisco Franco has two weeks to suggest where they would like his remains to be buried...

'The NASA Archives. 60 Years in Space' book presentation in Madrid

Madrid, Feb (efe-epa).- A book portraying the history of the United States National Aeronautical Space Administration, better known by its initials NASA,...

Theft of precious bonsai worries cultivators in Japan

Tokyo, Feb 15 (efe-epa).- Japanese cultivators are despairing over the future of stolen bonsai plants, several of them hundreds of years old, from nurseries...

Airbus A-380: the double-decker giant of the skies that never really took off

París, Feb 14 (efe-epa).- The A-380, a mammoth double-decker commercial airliner, was supposed to revolutionize the way people flew to far-off...

Nintendo announces 'Super Mario Maker 2', return of 'Link's Awakening'

Washington DC, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- Japanese electronics giant Nintendo on Wednesday announced the launch of "Super Mario Maker 2" for its Switch console as...

NASA declares Opportunity rover that explored Mars to be dead

Washington, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- NASA announced Wednesday that the wheeled robot Opportunity that explored part of the surface of the Red Planet up close and...

Entrepreneurs urge women in Colombia to push into science, tech

Medellin, Colombia, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- To defy stereotypes, sexism and discrimination and inspire girls with a vocation for science and technology to pursue...

Scientists find 29,000-year-old Neanderthal footprint, 2nd ever, in Gibraltar

Seville (Spain), Feb 13 (efe-epa).- A group of international researchers working in Gibraltar, on the southwesternmost tip of Europe, have discovered a...

Ancient sea monster fossil discovered in Argentina thrills paleontologists

Buenos Aires, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- The discovery in southern Argentina of the fossilized remains of a fierce aquatic reptile that roved the seas 66 million...

Russia steps up research on cosmonaut-humanoid robot interaction in space

Moscow, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- Russia's space agency is set to increase its research into cosmonaut interaction and communication with humanoid robots during...

Women from all over the world promote a female "big bang" in science

Bogota, Feb 10 (efe-epa).- Nearly three hundred scientists gathered in a global program for the planet are trying to promote a "big bang" of women in...

Chile celebrates 50 years of star gazing at La Silla Observatory

Cerro La Silla, Chile, Feb 10 (efe-epa).- The La Silla Observatory, located in northern Chile, is celebrating 50 years of providing a window to the Universe...

Colombia launches int'l think tank aimed at spurring nation's development

Bogota, Feb 9 (efe-epa).- Colombia's government has launched a think tank that is made up of 43 experts from different countries and areas of expertise and...

Spanish team use innovative WindSled to collect data for NASA in Antarctica

Johannesburg, Feb 9 (efe-epa).- A team of Spanish scientists returned from a 52-day expedition to the Antarctic using an innovative and environmentally...

King of Spain backs celebration of first sailing expedition around the world

Madrid, 8 Feb (efe-epa).- The king of Spain expressed support on Friday to a Spanish exploration society that is to re-enact one of the world's greatest...

London's iconic Kew Gardens take on Colombian flair with new orchids display

London, Feb 7 (efe-epa).- On the other – much chillier – side of the pond, London's most iconic botanic garden is set to recreate the essence of far-flung...

Amazon invests in driverless startup Aurora, valued at more than $2 billion

Madrid, Feb 7 (efe-epa).- Amazon has invested in high-profile autonomous-vehicle startup Aurora, giving the online retailer insight into the fast-developing...

Fossils of new dinosaur species found in Argentina's Patagonia

Buenos Aires, Feb 4 (efe-epa).- A group of paleontologists discovered fossils from a heretofore unknown species of dinosaur in Argentina's Patagonia region,...

Researchers find further evidence linking gut bacteria to clinical depression

London, Feb 4 (efe-epa).- A team of microbiologists has discovered new evidence strengthening the links between gut bacteria and mental health issues such...

Young Mexicans create biofuel with almond shells

By Ivette Mota

Chilean family lives surrounded by the wildest seas on the planet

Hornos Island, Chile, Jan 31 (EFE).- The wild seas surrounding Cape Horn, where 10,000 seafarers are believed to have died, are now being watched over by...

China, US lead in Artificial Intelligence innovation, Europe limps behind

Geneva, Jan 31 (efe-epa).- China and the United States are the global leaders when it comes to the development of Artificial Intelligence products that take...

Ecuadorian mummy may hold clues to spread of rare malady

Quito, Jan 30 (epa-efe).- A mummified body discovered in the central Ecuadorian city of Guano may be the missing link to understanding the spread in Europe...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.