Why in the Canary Islands did the Guanches suffer from surfer’s ear?

It does not appear if in the chronicles of the Conquest of the Canary Islands if the bloodthirsty by Pedro de Verathe The Royal Academy of History of Spain maintains that on the islands he acted with “harshness and cruelty”, he had problems for the Guanches to hear or hear him. If that was the case, it could be due to a hearing problem that she never knew about, although De Vera was a character not given to hearing too much, which did not interest her, like when the Catholic Monarchs dismissed him for being a psychopath.

The fact is that a scientific study indicates that the ancient canaries would have abnormal bone growth in the outer ear due to continuous contact with water, that is, exostosis, which is called ‘surfer’s ear’ because it is usually suffered by practitioners of this sport. Did they surf? something similar is certain because in the Maipés de Agaete site, in the north of Gran Canaria, they have found archaeological remains of some surfaces which, in the opinion of the experts, would be used to slide on waves.

The Canarian expert investigation of 358 skulls from 27 burial sites in Gran Canaria, and that in each of them the observation of the two auditory canals was feasible, it was possible to detect that those near the Agujero beach in Gáldar had exostosis. In the chronicles about the Spanish presence in America, it is said that Pedrarias Davila he started there with islanders because they were good swimmers and endured a lot of time on the seabed capturing oysters with which to trade pearls.

This fact that the ancient canaries had the so-called ‘surfer’s ear’ is something that professors have investigated on the islands in the text called ‘Contribution to Bioanthropology: ‘Headphones on the pre-Hispanic population of Gran Canaria‘ by the professors of the ULPGC J. Velasco Vázquez, A. Betancor Rodríguez, E. González

Reimers E. Martín Rodríguez and M. Arnay de la Rosa. That is to say: from the department of Historical Sciences of the ULPGCDEL Museo Canario, Department of Internal Medicine of the University Hospital of the Canary Islands and from the Department of Prehistory, Anthropology and Ancient History, both of the latter from the University of La Laguna.

Exostosis is known as ‘surfer’s ear’ because it affects many fans of surfing, canoeing, sailing or scuba diving. It is the abnormal growth of bone in the outer ear due to continuous contact with water and cold winds and this occurs in many outdoor water sports and also in the regular practice of skiing. It is not serious but it is annoying and favors ear infection or otitis. To explain the cases of ‘surfer’s ear’, a series of skulls from archaeological sites based on their proximity to the coastal environment, between coastal and inland ensembles. The information provided by the study of trace elements “showed the existence of significant differences in the access to marine resources between the populations settled in one area or another of Gran Canaria”.

The experts point out that in the specific case of the Canary Islands, the presence of these ear exostoses was observed and described by Dutour and J. Onrubia in 1991 in the skeletal remains exhumed from the El Agujero Necropolis (Gáldar). In such a case, it was indicated “the close relationship of the inhabitants of this area of ​​Gran Canaria with the oceanic environmentalso manifesting the double aspect as a result of the various causal agents that, on more than one occasion, may be interacting”.

The experts expose the verified case of the surfers in Oregon, in the United States, where 63% of individuals who have surfed between the ages of 6 and 15 have exostosis of the ear canal, increasing this percentage up to 93% when this activity has lasted more than fifteen years. This paper concludes by pointing out that those who have surfed five years or less do not usually have this bony abnormality in the ear canalunless such activity has been carried out in more than fifty annual sessions.

Having said this: the professors point out that the most recent works, “faced from other perspectives of analysis”, have revealed “the eclose link that would unite the canaries with the sea” and that “the marine collection and especially, judging by the available data, the fishing would constitute economic strategies extremely important for the subsistence of these populations”.

Why in the Canary Islands did the Guanches suffer from surfer’s ear?