Piers Mitchell, a paleopathologist at Cambridge University who worked on the study, said ancient latrines could become a key source of biomolecular information and allow scientists to explain how modern lifestyles affect human health.
“If we are to determine what constitutes a healthy microbiome for modern people, we should start looking at the microbiomes of our ancestors who lived before antibiotic use, fast food, and the other trappings of industrialisation,” he said.
Sure, let us compare ancient shit with new in order to find out. But:
One of the big challenges in working with an archaeological dig was differentiating what was faeces and what was dirt. However, researchers were able to identify a wide range of bacteria, parasitic worms, and other organisms known to inhabit the intestines of humans.
Imagine, say, that antibiotics cause asthma. I’m sure there’s someone out there that claims they do. It is not then true to say that we want to stop using the antibiotics in order to avoid the asthma. Rather, we need to balance the costs of the asthma against the benefits of the absence of parasitic worms.
After all, that we live longer and healthier now is rather proof that we’ve a better or more health microbiome these days.