The mysterious origins of Black Death revealed in a new DNA analysis

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As we know from our experience with Covid-19, tracing the source of a pandemic is incredibly difficult.

More than two years after the virus appeared in China, we still don’t know how it spread in the human population or which animal or animals harbored the virus prior to that crucial event.

Humans have lived with microbes since our earliest days, but now “we live in an era of pandemics,” said epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant, CEO of Pandefense Advisory, a network of experts committed to pandemic response. . Thanks to DNA analysis, however, the scientific investigative work needed to understand these pathogens has come a long way, as one of this week’s exciting findings demonstrates.

This is Katie Hunt, who replaces Ashley Strickland, in this edition of Wonder Theory.

The Black Death was the most devastating plague epidemic in the world. It is estimated to have killed half of the European population in just seven years during the Middle Ages.

Historians and archaeologists have been trying for centuries to pinpoint the source of this pandemic and now science has come forward and provided an answer.

Traces of diseases that made our ancestors sick, including the plague pathogen, can be found hidden in the ancient DNA of human remains.

Genome sequencing of the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis, found in teeth exhumed from two graves in what is now Kyrgyzstan, may have solved the mystery of the black plague’s origins.

The life of a mastodon, an elephantine creature that roamed North America 13,000 years ago, was illuminated by the study of its fangs.

For the first few years of his life, he was the son of a mom: he stayed close to home with a herd led by females in what is now central Indiana before venturing out on his own. The mastodon died at the age of 34, when the tip of the fang of another male mastodon pierced the right side of his skull.

The creature the tusks stored the geochemical information absorbed by shrubs, trees and water consumed, allowing scientists for the first time to reconstruct where the animal was he has traveled throughout his life.

This is the artistic impression of a black hole drifting through our galaxy, the Milky Way.

We now have the most complete map to date of the Milky Way, our home galaxy, and it shows us some pretty cool stuff.

Some stars in the Milky Way have strange and unexpected “tsunami-like” earthquakes, new data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia Space Telescope have revealed. The movement even changed the shape of some stars.

Hubble, another space telescope that is scanning the skies, has discovered an equally intriguing cosmic phenomenon.

The invisible and ghostly remnants of a once radiant star are wandering through the Milky Way. It is the first time that a stray black hole has been detected, although astronomers believe there may be 100 million similar objects in circulation.

The dichotomy between dominant male and docile female it is one of nature’s most enduring gender stereotypes. A new book titled “Bitch: On the Female of the Species” dispels this sexist misconception and tells a more complete story about the role of females in nature.

Female creatures are as promiscuous, competitive, aggressive and dynamic as their male counterparts and play an equal role in driving evolutionary change, according to author Lucy Cooke.

His work details the lives of an array of colorful animals that will shake your guesses about what it means to be female: killer mothers of meerkats, unfaithful bluebirds, and female dolphins who have an unusual strategy in the battle of the sexes.

An adult female polar bear (left) and two 1-year-old cubs walk on the ice of a snow-capped freshwater glacier in southeastern Greenland in March 2015.

Polar bears are getting leaner and have fewer cubs due to melting sea ice in their Arctic habitat, scientists say. but a new discovery can offer a glimmer of hope.

A special population of polar bears living in the fjords in southeastern Greenland Shows how this species might be able to survive as the climate crisis intensifies.

Unlike most polar bears, which hunt seals on sea ice and roam far away, this distinct population has adapted to living in a smaller habitat and hunting on freshwater glacier ice.

“If you are concerned about preserving the species, then yes, our findings are promising”, said Kristin Laidre, a polar researcher at the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington. “But, I do not think so the glacier habitat will support a huge number of polar bears. There is simply not enough. ”

Be amazed by these stories:

– The wreckage of a warship carrying a royal VIP on its last voyage 340 years ago has been found off the coast of England.

– Scientists have discovered why exactly cats are so crazy about catnip. And it serves a more useful purpose than just making our feline friends feel intoxicated.

– The mega Lunar rocket Artemis I is ready for its fourth attempt at the final pre-launch test. Keep your fingers crossed.

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