Did the Neanderthals and Denisovans suffer the black plague, too? Carl Zimmer @NYTimes

Feb 18, 2019, 03:05 AM

Photo:Skeletons in a mass grave from 1720–1721 in Martigues, France, yielded molecular evidence of the orientalis strain of Yersinia pestis, the organism responsible for bubonic plague. The second pandemic of bubonic plague was active in Europe from 1347, the beginning of the Black Death, until 1750.

S. Tzortzis - http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/13/2/06-0197-f1.htm

Bubonic plague victims in a mass grave in Martigues, France

Public Domain

File:Bubonic plague victims-mass grave in Martigues, France 1720-1721.jpg

Created: 1 December 2011

Did the Neanderthals and Denisovans suffer the black plague, too?  Carl Zimmer @NYTimes


Prehistoric Tales of Bubonic Plague.Carl Zimmer, NYT. Ken Croswell, Science Now.. But in a new study, published on Thursday in the journal Cell, researchers report that the bacterium was infecting people as long as 5,000 years ago.

"...Exactly what those early outbreaks were like is impossible to know. But the authors of the new study suggest that plague epidemics in the Bronze Age may have opened the doors to waves of migrants in regions decimated by disease.

“To my mind, this leaves little doubt that this has played a major role in those population replacements,” said Eske Willerslev, a co-author of the new study and the director of the Center for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen.

"David M. Wagner, a microbial geneticist at Northern Arizona University who was not involved in the study, said that the new research should prompt other scientists to look at mysterious outbreaks in early history, such as the epidemic that devastated Athens during the Peloponnesian War. “It opens up whole new areas of research,” he said...."