The Black Death was one of the most horrible pandemics in the annals of human history as it claimed the lives of an estimated 75 to 200 million people and reached its peak in Europe from 1346 to 1353.
The plague killed 30 to 60% of the total population of Europe. The population of the continent bounced back after one and half century.
But the moment of redemption for the innocent rats has finally arrived and if the study whipped up by the researchers at Norway’s University of Oslo is true and valid then the culprit could have been the gerbils and not their distant cousins.
Yes you heard it right, the cute, gentle and harmless gerbils could have been the real carriers of the dreaded Black Death from Asia to Europe in the 14th century, which led to the deaths of millions and millions of hapless people.
The researchers pinpoint the gerbils from central Asia as the carriers of the Yersinia pestis bacteria which gives rise to the bubonic plague, which keeps on coming backing sporadically in Europe until the 19th century.
Researchers examined tree-ring records to discern the kind of climate conditions were present during the time when the plague was common. They found out that the weather conditions in Europe were not suited for rats to cause an outbreak, instead the weather conditions were most favorable in Asia for gerbils and fleas to flourish.
The study also hinted that Silk Road routes either by land or sea could have served as the mediums for the plague.
If you have doubts now with your endearing gerbil pet don’t worry since they are harmless and longer capable of carrying deadly bacteria.