Black Death Blamed on Bacteria





The bacteria wiped out a third of Europe's population in the Middle Ages.

Anthropologists said on Friday they had confirmed long-running suspicions that a germ called Yersinia pestis caused the plague that wiped out an estimated third of Europe's population in the Middle Ages.

Teeth and bones sampled from 76 skeletons found in "plague pits" in France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands and sequenced for DNA intrusion are conclusive evidence that Y. pestis was to blame, they said.

Y. pestis has been in the dock for more than a century as the source of so-called Black Death, which gripped Europe in successive outbreaks from the 14th to the 18th century.

But scientific data to convict the bacterium have until now been sketchy or debatable....



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