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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gerbils, not Rats, Behind the Repeated Waves of Black Death in Europe

This article was circulating yesterday, but I didn't have the opportunity to share it. Here it is, in case you missed it.

Article: Gerbils Replace Rats as Main Cause of Black Death

Rats have been repeatedly exonerated as the cause of Bubonic Plague - first we learned it was the fleas and not the rats themselves that spread the deadly disease. Then we learned that many cases of bubonic plague were actually pneumonic plague and spread from person to person. Now, we learn that the timing of the outbreaks did not coincide with weather conditions that would have led to increased population of rats. Instead, the outbreaks occurred a few years after wet springs and warm summers in Asia, which would have been optimal conditions for gerbils in those regions. After such conducive conditions for gerbils and fleas occurred in Asia, there would be outbreaks in harbor towns in Europe as the gerbils/fleas traveled along with the silk trade. Those outbreaks then spread throughout the rest of the continent.

And yet, after all this evidence, people will continue to blame the poor maligned rat for this curse upon humanity. But the gerbil, mark my words, will get off scot free. Well played, gerbils. Well played.

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