Top Ten Historical Health and Medical Discoveries of 2015

Top Ten Historical Health and Medical Discoveries of 2015

(Read the article on one page)

There is much more to archaeology than just learning about our past. The study of the ancient world has also led to astounding discoveries that may have real utility in the modern day. As well as discoveries that have revealed that ancient peoples were more advanced than previously realized with regards to health and medical care, scientists believe that some of their knowledge may even provide life-saving benefits today. Here we examine ten amazing health and medical discoveries of 2015.

10. Ancient Pompeii Victims Reveal Great Teeth and Good Health

Ancient Pompeii Victims Reveal Great Teeth and Good Health

CT scanners were used on the plaster casts of the Mount Vesuvius victims from Pompeii. Preliminary results showed that, in general, they had great teeth and were in remarkably good health before the volcanic eruption. This new discovery goes against the commonly held belief that Romans were often hedonists that enjoyed consuming in excess whenever possible.

Especially surprising for the scientists is that the ancient Pompeiians had great dental records, despite the poor dental care available in 79 AD. “They ate better than we did and have really good teeth.” Elisa Vanacore, a dental expert, said in a press release.  The Pompeiians ate a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in sugars.

30 of the 86 Pompeiian plaster casts have passed through the scanning process so far. The results are providing more details on the lives of the individuals found from the site. “It will reveal much about the victims: their age, sex, what they ate, what diseases they had and what class of society they belonged to. This will be a great step forward in our knowledge of antiquity.” Massimo Osanna, the archaeological superintendent of Pompeii, said.

9. Viking diet was better than in many parts of the Medieval world

Viking diet was better than in many parts of the Medieval world

The Vikings are famous for their great feasting halls, in which an image of a rowdy bunch of beer-drinking men gnawing on meaty bones comes to mind.  But what did they really consume besides beer and mead in their dining rooms? New research revealed they had a rich and varied diet, and ate better than their medieval counterparts in Britain.

The Vikings apparently didn’t roast or fry their meat but rather boiled it. Some of the meat was game, but especially in the lower latitudes they ate domesticated cattle, horses, sheep and goats and pork. They kept ducks, geese and chickens for meat and eggs. In the northlands, the Vikings hunted elk, deer, reindeer, bear, boar, squirrels, hare and wildfowl more than their southern cousins.

Vikings fished the Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea for cod, haddock, herring, mackerel and other fish. They hunted seals and porpoises but usually ate beached whales instead of hunting them.

Dairy, vegetables and fruits, which were much wilder then than now; and seeds for oil were a big part of the Viking diet. They ate various types of berries, apples, sloes and plums and preserved them by drying them. They grew and gathered vegetables such as carrots, turnips, parsnips, spinach, celery, cabbage, fava beans, peas and radishes.

While they ate oats, barley and rye and made flatbread from the barley, most of it was used to make beer.

8. Russian scientists make progress on secret of eternal life

Russian scientists make progress on secret of eternal life

Scientists decoded the DNA of a bacteria found thriving in ancient permafrost, and are now seeking to understand the genes which provide its extraordinary longevity.  Work has also been underway to study a so far unexplained positive impact on living organisms, notably human blood cells, mice, fruit flies, and crops.

The bacteria were originally found on Mamontova Gora - Mammoth Mountain - in Siberia's Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, in 2009 by Dr Anatoli Brouchkov, head of the Geocryology Department, Moscow State University.  Similar bacteria were discovered by Siberian scientist Vladimir Repin in the brain of an extinct woolly mammoth preserved by permafrost.

'We did a lot of experiments on mice and fruit flies and we saw the sustainable impact of our bacteria on their longevity and fertility,' said Dr Brouchkov. 'But we do not know yet exactly how it works. In fact, we do not know exactly how aspirin works, for example, but it does. The same is true here: we cannot understand the mechanism, but we see the impact.'

Describing the discoveries as a 'scientific sensation' and an 'elixir of life', Yakutsk epidemiologist Dr Viktor Chernyavsky said: 'The bacteria gives out biologically active substances throughout its life, which activates the immune status of experimental animals.' As a result, 'mice grannies not only began to dance, but also produced offspring'.

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Myths & Legends

Open Book Photo
A legend is a tale regarded as historical even though it has not been proven, and the term “myth” can refer to common yet false ideas. Many myths and legends describe our history, but they are often treated skeptically. This is because many of them, while explaining a phenomenon, involve divine or supernatural beings.

Human Origins

Noah's Sacrifice - watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot
The imperfect state of archaeological researches in the Near East impedes any definite identification of the original race or races that created the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. According to Gordon Childe, however, the predominant racial element in the earliest graves in the region from Elam to the Danube is the ‘Mediterranean’.

Ancient Technology

Invention of Wheel - Sumer
In today’s world, technology is developing at an unprecedented rate. The latest gadget today is tomorrow’s antique. As a result of this rapid development of technology, we often take things for...

Ancient Places

Google Earth image of manmade stone structures in Saudi Arabia
Deep in the heart of Saudi Arabia, 400 peculiar stone structures have been found, dating back thousands of years ago. These stone features were discovered by archaeologists with the use of satellite imagery, identifying what they call stone "gates" in an extremely unwelcome and harsh area of the Arabian Peninsula.

Opinion

The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article