Max Planck again. It's really the genetics of the "Black Death" and going forward.


"Analysis of 34 ancient plague genomes from the Black Death and succeeding plague epidemics in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries, reveals how the bacterium diversified after a single introduction."

Insufficient coverage of Italy, ONE sample, when it killed so many of us. There was a 90% death rate in Fivizzano in the Lunigiana, one of the highest I've ever seen.

An international team of researchers has analyzed remains from ten archaeological sites in England, France, Germany, Russia, and Switzerland to gain insight into the different stages of the second plague pandemic (14th-18th centuries) and the genetic diversity of Yersinia pestis during and after the Black Death. In a study published in Nature Communications, the researchers reconstructed 34 Y. pestis genomes, tracing the genetic history of the bacterium, which revealed key insights into the initiation and progression of the second plague pandemic in Europe."

It's the steppe again, but the spread was, from historical accounts, from the Crimea to Italy aboard Genovese ships. Do geneticists never read history? If they knew that you'd think they would have looked for more samples from Italy. They're ubiquitous. That would have given a clearer idea of the spread. Even with only the one sample from Italy (Siena), it's suggestive that the historical accounts are true.

This is what comes of educating scientists as if they're car mechanics and university is a trade school. There should be MANDATORY classes in Western Civilization for two years.

Despite the ubiquity of the Black Death in historical texts and the popular imagination, the entry point of the
Y. pestis bacterium at this time and the route it traveled through Europe remain unclear, due to a lack of data from early outbreaks and a general scarcity of published ancient Y. pestis genomes. In the current study, researchers reconstructed plague genomes from the teeth of 34 individuals, including two from Laishevo, in the Volga region of Russia, and found a single strain that is ancestral to all second pandemic strains. In addition, the researchers observe an absence of genomic diversity from samples during the Black Death. “These findings indicate a single entry of Y. pestis into Europe through the east”, explains first author Maria Spyrou of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. “However, it is possible that additional interpretations may be revealed with future discoveries of un-sampled diversity in western Eurasia”, she notes.

This disease has been pivotal in human history. First it facilitated the arrival of the Europeans, a variant may have helped bring down the Roman Empire, and then it paved the way for the changes in the late Medieval period and Renaissance.

Burial pits in second plague pandemic