Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Blame the Gerbils (again)!
The latest word from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is that black rats have been taking a bad rap for having caused the Black Death. An article by Professor Nils Christian Stenseth of the University of Oslo has put forth the argument that the disease was spread by gerbils from Asia, part of that argument being that the Black Death originated in Asia. This is not the first time that the scientific community has found fault with the gerbils. The most notorious case has been the archaeological efforts to find and date the buried cities of Troy. The usual rule of thumb has always been that depth is the primary indicator of age. Unfortunately, that site seems to have been very popular with gerbils; and some archaeologists have argued that they have been undermining the buried remains of Troy for centuries. Gerbils had better be wary at any future meetings of members of the National Academy of Sciences!