A 5,000-year-old mass grave harbors the oldest plague bacteria ever found

A 5,000-year-old mass grave harbors the oldest plague bacteria ever found

A long-dead Scandinavian woman has yielded bacterial DNA showing that she contracted the earliest known case of the plague in humans. DNA extracted from the woman’s teeth comes from a newly identified ancient strain of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes plague, the oldest ever found. The woman’s bones, which date from 5,040 to 4,867 years ago, were found nearly 20 years ago in a mass grave at an ancient farming site in Sweden.

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