Emergence and Spread of Basal Lineages of Yersinia pestis during the Neolithic Decline
By Charles Q. Choi – Livescience.com
Researchers found the plague sample on the remains of a 20-year-old woman, shown above.
Credit: Karl-Göran Sjögren / University of Gothenburg
In a nearly 5,000-year-old tomb in Sweden, researchers have discovered the oldest-known strain of the notorious bacterium Yersinia pestis — the microbe responsible for humanity’s perhaps most-feared contagion: the plague.
The finding suggests that the germ may have devastated settlements across Europe at the end of the Stone Age in what may have been the first major pandemic of human history. It could also rewrite some of what we know of ancient European history…