10 July 2006 - Monday

Dun dun dun!

An article from USA Today:

As a waypoint on the ancient Silk Road, the metropolis of Palmyra had it all, broad towers, impressive temples and enviable trade. Water from local wells even contained fluoride, limiting that scourge of the ancients -- tooth decay.

But just as the wealth of Palmyra vanished, leaving behind ruins in the Syrian desert, a new study suggests its waters may also have been ruinous in the end for the city's inhabitants. [...] the Palmyrans' symptoms, along with discolored teeth, point to "fluorosis," a skeletal and enamel-damaging syndrome caused by ingesting too much fluoride over a long time, the researchers note.

No doubt certain sorts of people will find this story highly significant. Partly for that reason, I wish the opening paragraphs were not so melodramatic; readers could easily get the impression that fluoride caused the city's fall.

Via Mirabilis.

| Posted by Wilson at 14:21 Central | TrackBack
| Report submitted to the Humanities Desk