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Evidence for plague goes back to A.D. 540.

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That is, until just recently.

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New evidence suggests plague existed as early as 2,800 BC.

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For some “take away” from this, use the DOOR.

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[MORE]

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   Almost all the specific information here comes from Dr. Richard Rasmussen and his colleagues from the Technical University of Denmark, as reported by Maria Cheng of the Associated Press on Oct. 13, 2015.

   (1)  Throughout history plague has been a horrific killer from time to time. In the 14th century it killed about one-third (perhaps) of the people who lived in Europe. (That’s from Wiki-pedia).

   (2) Until recently, the first evidence of plague was A.D. 540.

   (3)  The cause of plague: bacteria from flea bites from infected rats that attacks the human lymphatic system.

   (4)  Most people way back then who got plague died. Now it’s treatable but there are no vaccines.

   (5)  Now the special new information: The DNA (hereditary molecules in every living thing) of infected fleas is known.

   (6)  Rasmussen’s team drilled into the teeth of 101 individuals who lived in Central Asia and Europe some 2,800 to 5,000 years ago. The drilling procedure produced a powder that researchers examined for DNA from plague bacteria. The found plague bacteria in samples from 7 people.

   (7)  However, the plague they found was a “different strain” from the one that caused the 3 known pandemics including the Black Death that swept across Medieval Europe.

   (8)  Further, this new early plague could have not been spread by fleas. Why? Because a “crucial gene” was missing in the DNA.

   (9)  Yes, biology has come pretty far…

   (10)  To really know about plague–a horror–that has left its mark on several civilizations, as well as religion, you need to read much more than what’s written here. The major take-away from all this (as of the moment, anyway) is to shown how much we can learn from good, careful science to explain what’s around us. In short, the DNA present in life that lived thousands of years ago can often be identified and described from even fossil bones.