A new study challenges previous theories about the "Black Death"'s relationship to changes in immunity A new study challenges previous theories about the "Black Death"'s relationship to changes in immunity

A new study challenges previous theories about the "Black Death"'s relationship to changes in immunity

A new study challenges previous theories about the "Black Death"'s relationship to changes in immunity

A team of scientists from different disciplines found little evidence that the Black Death plague caused genetic variants to appear in affected populations.

The Black Death plague affected people living in Europe and parts of Africa and Asia in the mid-14th century, and is believed to have killed about 25 million people, with some countries seeing the loss of 65% of their population.

Last year, scientists discovered that the plague was actually a bacterial infection carried by wild rodents. In the recent study, archaeologists, geneticists and pathologists from institutions across Europe analyzed the genomes of 275 individuals buried in Cambridgeshire, England, who lived before and after the Black Death of the 14th century in the same area to see if they could find any genetic changes.

They found that, contrary to previous beliefs, there is actually little evidence that the bubonic plague pandemic caused genetic mutations in the region.

Challenging previous Black Death beliefs

Experts aim to understand the impact of the Black Death on population genetic variations as well as explore whether the epidemic shaped the susceptibility of the surviving population to genetic diseases.

Previous studies have linked the medieval plague to the development of types of immunity in some populations. However, the latest insights from the new study show that ancient DNA did not reflect any major changes in genetic differences around diversity or immune genes linked to the pandemic.

This discovery challenges this typical idea, and raises questions about the extent and consistency of genetic responses to historical epidemics.

The researchers suggest that immune responses to Yersinia pestis, the bacteria responsible for the Black Death, could relate to multiple yet-to-be-revealed pathways.

This could contribute to understanding the genetic impact of plague on diverse populations.

The researchers explained in a statement that their analyzes revealed details about social structure in Cambridgeshire, including connectivity and long-term shifts in local genetic lineage due to immigration from the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark.

“These results do not mean that the plague did not have a selective effect on genetic diversity in Cambridge,” the researchers noted.

The researchers used DNA data to study changes in genetic variations related to diversity and immune genes before and after the Black Death.

The study was published in the journal Science Advances on January 17.


A strange 3,000-year-old stone disc could be an ancient map of the sky's brightest stars

A new study suggests that a strange stone disc discovered in Italy, dating back about 3,000 years ago, could be an ancient map of the brightest stars in the sky.
Scientists noted that the stone disk, about the size of a tire, was discovered a few years ago in a hill fort (a type of earthwork used as a fortified shelter) in northeastern Italy and contained 29 mysterious inscribed marks.

There were 24 marks engraved on one side of the stone, and 5 marks on the other side.

Using software to analyze the stone carvings, the scientists found that the markings likely match star clusters in the constellations Orion, Scorpio, and Cassiopeia, as well as the star clusters Pleiades (or the Seven Sisters or Messier 45).

Ancient Celestial Map Unearthed at Castelliere di Rupinpiccolo Hillfort in Italy

Trieste, Italy - In a recent discovery at the historic Castelliere di Rupinpiccolo hillfort in the Province of Trieste, researchers from the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF).

According to researchers, one of the two large circular stones discovered at the entrance to the ancient hillfort Castelliere di Rupinpiccolo depicts a carved celestial map dated to the 4th century BC. The other is a representation of the sun.

Scientists also found another uncarved stone next to it, about 50 cm in diameter and 30 cm thick, and they suspect that it may be a representation of the sun.

One of the 29 signs remains to be identified, according to the study published in the journal Astronomical Notes.

Scientists suspect that the yet-to-be-identified engraved mark likely represents a star in the constellation Orion that may have since exploded as a supernova, or it could be a failed supernova that left a black hole in its wake.

"The unknown sign challenges the whole picture. We suggest that it may have been a predecessor to a failed supernova," the scientists wrote in a research paper.

The team says that searching for a black hole in this part of the sky could confirm this explanation.

They added: "The case of the failed supernova is really interesting because one of the techniques to search for it is specifically to search for missing stars in the current sky, using images taken in earlier times." Pointing out that this possibility provides a way to verify the proposed explanation.

According to the study, the disk may have been used by people who lived about 3,000 years ago in a hill fort in the Castelliere di Rupinpiccolo region of Italy, to track the changing seasons as part of the agricultural calendar.

Pottery shards discovered near the site indicate that the hill fort was in use from around 1800/1650 to 400 BC, indicating that the stone tablets can only be attributed to this long time period.

However, little is known about the ancient inhabitants of the Castelliere di Rupinpiccolo area where the stones were found.

Until now, the oldest known map of the night sky is a palimpsest (a page of a book on which what was written was erased for others to write on it) attributed to the Greek astronomer Abarkhash and dating back to about 135 BC.

This is in addition to the Nebra Celestial Disc, a bronze artifact with gold decorations indicating the Sun, Moon and Pleiades dating back to about 1600 BC, or perhaps earlier, but it is a more primitive representation.

If the stone disk discovered in Italy is proven to contain a celestial map, it could predate Abarkhash's work, showing "evidence of unexpected astronomical curiosity in prehistoric Europe."

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