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Ancient Mexican Civilization Nearly Wiped Out by Something Stuck in Their Teeth, New DNA Evidence Reveals
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Researchers believe they have identified a likely cause for a 16th century epidemic that decimated a group of indigenous Mesoamerican people known as the Mixtec—and it’s related to the bug that might give you food poisoning after a bad barbecue. Beginning in 2004, researchers found and exhumed several bodies from the more than 800 buried in mass graves near a churchyard cemetery at an archeological site called Teposcolula-Yucundaa. DNA from a strain of Salmonella turned up in the remains of people who died during this epidemic—specifically, in the pulpy part of their teeth. “This was a hugely devastating epidemic,” Kirsten Bos, one of the lead authors of the paper and a physical anthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, told Newsweek. read more
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