The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. a flea

    Fossilized Flea Contains Black Death Ancestor

    All that glitters is definitely not gold. Scientists studying a 20 million-year-old flea corpse — preserved in sparkling amber — have discovered that it has company: a primitive version of Yersinia pestis, aka bubonic plague, which killed around half of the population of Europe in the 14th century. This version of the bacteria is far older than modern plague, which is believed to be about 20,000 years old, and could offer insight into an ancient scourge that may have wiped out other mammals long before Homo sapiens first evolved.

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