A deadly pandemic with mysterious origins: it might sound like a modern headline, but scientists have spent centuries debating the source of the Black Death that devastated the medieval world.
Not anymore, according to researchers who say they have pinpointed the source of the plague to a region of Kyrgyzstan, after analyzing DNA from remains at an ancient burial site.
“We managed to actually put to rest all those centuries-old controversies about the origins of the Black Death,” said Philip Slavin, a historian and part of the team whose work was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
The Black Death was the initial wave of a nearly 500-year pandemic. In just eight years, from 1346 to 1353, it killed up to 60 percent of the population of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to estimates.
Slavin, an associate professor at the University of Stirling in Scotland who has “always been fascinated with the Black Death”, found an intriguing clue in an 1890 work describing an ancient burial site in what is now northern Kyrgyzstan.
Click here to read more.
Source: Medical Xpress