The earliest evidence of human tuberculosis can be traced to at least the early dynastic periods, when full-scaled wet-rice agriculture began or entered its early developmental stages, in circum-China countries (Japan, Korea, and Thailand). Early studies indicated that the initial spread of tuberculosis coincided with the development of wet-rice agriculture. It has been proposed that the adaptation to agriculture changed human social/living environments, coincidentally favoring survival and spread of pathogenic Mycobacterial strains that cause tuberculosis. Here we present a possible case of spinal tuberculosis evident in the remains of a young female (M191) found among 184 skeletal individuals who were Neolithic wet-rice agriculturalists from the Yangtze River Delta of China, associated with Songze culture (3900–3200 B.C.). This early evidence of tuberculosis in East Asia serves as an example of early human morbidity following the adoption of the wet-rice agriculture.
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