Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Coincidentally: Clues to Black Plague’s Fury in 650-Year-Old Skeletons
Many historians have assumed that Europe’s deadliest plague, the Black Death of 1347 to 1351, killed indiscriminately, young and old, hardy and frail, healthy and sick alike. But two anthropologists were not so sure. They decided to take a closer look at the skeletons of people buried more than 650 years ago.

Their findings, published on Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that the plague selectively took the already ill, while many of the otherwise healthy survived the infection.

I have a memory tickle about hearing this somewhere before, that Europe was so heavily impacted because a lot of the people were already in poor health due to poor nutrition, overcrowding, and the Little Ice Age in general.