Oldest traces of canine bone cancer discovered at ancient Egyptian pet cemetery
Traces of one of the most malignant and deadly cancers that kill modern dogs, osteosarcoma, have been discovered by Polish archaeologists in Egypt. "This is the oldest and the only find of this type" - told PAP archaeozoologist from Poznań, Dr. Marta Osypińska.
|Dog bones with marked pathological changes [Credit: Marta Osypińska]|
The remains of a dog that suffered from cancer were wrapped in a mat of palm leaves and then covered with an amphora from Cyprus, cut in two halves. The vessel allowed archaeologists to accurately estimate the age of the burial of the 70s of the 1st century AD.
|Excavations at the pet cemetary [Credit: Marta Osypińska]|
Osteosarcoma is now one of the most malignant and deadly cancers killing modern dogs - explained Dr. Osypińska in an interview with PAP. It is considered a genetic disease, affecting especially dogs that have a familial predisposition to the disease. Changes initiating the formation of a tumour may also appear as a result of exposure to environmental or biological factors.
|Dr. Marta Osypińska examining a cat skeleton [Credit: Bartosz Wójcik]|
It is a highly malignant tumour with 100 percent mortality in untreated animals. Its cells quickly spread throughout the body, causing metastases in the lungs and other organs. "This painful condition is incurable even with today's advanced methods used in veterinary oncology" - emphasised the researcher.
|Dog burial [Credit: Bartosz Wójcik]|
"There are many indications that it was one of the oldest archaeologically recorded heavy molossoid dogs, the ancestors of today's breeds such as boxers, bulldogs, dogs, Rottweilers, mastiffs" - suggested the archaeozoologist.
|The dig in which the burial of a dog suffering from cancer was discovered |
[Credit: Piotr Osypiński]
"We hope that the discovery of traces of the disease in a dog that lived two millennia ago, will contribute to progress in the study of this type of cancer and its causes. For this purpose, we have secured samples for histopathological and genetic studies" - added Dr. Osypińska.
Research at Berenike is conducted by an international team of researchers led by Prof. Steven Sidebothama of the University of Delaware (USA) and Iwona Zych of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw.
Source: PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland [15 July, 2016]