Scientists opened a 5,000-year-old cold case. They found the roots of the Black Death

Around 5,000 years ago in Northern Europe, a young man fell ill and died.

It turns out that the man had been infected by the oldest strain of Yersinia pestis — the bacterium that caused the Black Death plague, which spread through medieval Europe thousands of years later.

This ancient strain of the infectious bug emerged around 2,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to the study published today in Cell Reports.

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