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Why the Romans called peatlands “famicose”?

A mix of peatland ecology, philology and veterinary science solved the riddle

22/07/2020 The ancient Latin word "famicosus" occurs in the dictionary of Marcus Verrius Flaccus (approx. 55 BCE - 20 CE), the tutor of the grandchildren of Emperor Augustus, but cannot be found in any other traditional text. An extraordinary combination of peatland ecology, philology, and veterinary science has now been able to unravel its meaning: "Famex" denotes swellings of hooves of ungulates. These are caused, for example, by the bacterium Fusobacterium necrophorum. It often occurs in wet or moist habitats such as peatlands where hooves soften quickly, making them susceptible to microbial infections. The consequences can be hoof and claw diseases like interdigital dermatitis, bush rot, scald or footrot. Read more in the article by the scientists of the Greifswald Mire Centre and the State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe.


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