Researchers have discovered an ancient “European” strain of Yersinia pestis.
Scientists from Copenhagen University found a strain of Yersinia pestis, which is destroying the agricultural community from Romania to Sweden before the advent in Europe of migrants from the East. As reported by the online edition of the Chronicle.info with reference to zn.ua the researchers analyzed the earliest discovered case of death from plague and ancient DNA of the strain of Yersinia pestis.
In the study, researchers searched for traces of pathogenic microbes in genetic databases. In particular, they managed to find DNA that was extracted from the teeth of two people whose remains were found in grave in Sweden and dated to the age of 4900 years. Its sequence matched the DNA of the bacterium Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague. It is easy to conclude that the deadly bacterium is present in their blood, likely led to the death of both people. And perhaps she was the cause of the entire collapse of farming in Europe during the transition from the stone to the bronze age.
Researchers found that both men were “pure” Europeans of the stone age, without any mixture of representatives of the pit culture, migration, which, as expected, and brought the plague to Europe. According to researchers, the plague could play a key role in weakening the Central European Neolithic communities, thus facilitating their displacement by newcomers from the East.
Scientists emphasize that the population of settlements that existed on the territory of modern Romania, Ukraine and Moldova reached 10-20 thousand people. They were numerous, but very dirty. Animals lived side by side with the people, and gathered here the stocks attracted a Horde of rodents. Scientists assume that all this could be the ideal conditions for the epidemic, which soon trade routes spread across Europe, reaching and Sweden. About 5400 years of settlement in Central and Eastern Europe were empty.
It is estimated that two branches of existing strains of Y. pestis stood out the 5100 and 5300 years ago. However, the genome of strain from the Swedish burial was ancient and belonged to a separate branch, Department, about 5700 years ago. Accordingly, the common ancestor of these bacteria had to exist – and kill people – with an even more distant time, and in the stone age have flourished for at least a few separate strains. However, the exact time of the appearance of the plague still remains a mystery to scientists.