July 3, 2022

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Black Death: Researchers unravel the ancient mystery about the origin of plaque

Researchers are solving an ancient puzzle
The origin of black death was discovered

Even during the Great Plague in the late Middle Ages, people were concerned about the question of where the epidemic began. Seven centuries later, the answer seems to have been found. Graves and human bones provide decisive clues.

In the 14th century, 60 percent of Western Europeans died within eight years of a plague known as the Black Death. Like the corona virus, speculation has long been about where this devastating epidemic began. The answer to this question has now been found by an international research team. The scientists published their findings in a special journal “Nature” Published.

One of the most popular theories is that the source of the infection is in East Asia, especially China. However, the only archaeological finds found so far are from Central Asia. An epidemic near Lake Izik-Gul in present-day Kyrgyzstan in 1338-1339 shows an outbreak that struck the local community.

About 140 years ago, tombs engraved in the Syriac language were found there, claiming that people in those years died of an unknown plague or “plague”. In addition, more than average funerals took place in a very short period of time.

Clear evidence of plaque origin

In their study, an international research team examined historical and archaeological data from two sites where ancient DNA and “plague” inscriptions were found from human bones. In 1338/39 they found the plague bacterium in three of the seven tombs. Yersinia pestis To prove. These are the 14th century precursors to all known plague genes.

“We were finally able to show that the plague mentioned in the tombs was actually caused by the plague,” said Bill Slavin, a historian at the University of Stirling in the UK, one of the study’s primary authors. Communication from Max Planck Quoted in Evolutionary Anthropology.

Before the plague spread around the world in the 14th century, experts suspected a kind of Big Bang phenomenon, which may have led to a massive diversification of plague strains. The research team is allocating this event to find near Lake Isik-gul. According to Dubingen archaeologist Maria Spiro, ancient bacterial strains from Kyrgyzstan have been properly located at the center of this massive diversification phenomenon. “In other words, we’ve found the aborigines of the Black Death and we even know its exact date.”

The pathogen survived in animals

Scientists also studied how the plague came to this place. Did it grow locally or did it spread from other places in the area? They point out that the plague bacterium lives in wild rodent populations around the world in so-called plague reservoirs.

Therefore, the ancient Central Asian tribes that caused the plague around Lake Izik-Gul in 1338/39 must have come from such a reservoir. “We found that modern strains closely related to the ancient tribes are now found in the plague reservoirs around the Tian Shan Mountains, very close to where the ancient tribes were discovered. .

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