This 5,000-year-old man had the earliest known strain of plague

The oldest strain of Yersinia pestis — the bacteria behind the plague that caused the Black Death, which may have killed as much as half of Europe’s population in the 1300s — has been found in the remains of a 5,000-year-old hunter-gatherer. A genetic analysis reveals that this ancient strain was likely less contagious and not as deadly as its medieval version.