According to a new study conducted at the University of Oslo, rats may not have been behind the spread of the black plague during the middle ages. After building complex models based on historical data, scientists studied the patterns of how the plague spread during the 1300s.
Using models that simulated airborne rat and human based transmissions, scientists discovered that the human model matched the mortality patterns in seven out of nine cities studied. Although rats may have played a part in spreading more modern plagues, the study suggests the largest epidemic may have been the result of medieval hygiene and sanitation standards.
Twitter found the news... interesting.
What if the greater irony is that we gave the rats the plague through our fleas and lice...— Elicier (@Moehecan) January 16, 2018
Though some questioned the value of the study:
But it was established by scientists that it was spread by rats in the first place— Daniel Kovac (@danmanaj) January 17, 2018
fleas and lice that lived on those same rats....— Dwight Powder 🍿 (@PowdrySubstance) January 17, 2018
OK, really? We all knew that in like grade 10. Rats were the vehicles for fleas and lice. How much money was wasted on this.— K Jackson (@KJackottawa) January 17, 2018
Pretty sure I learned this fact in Junior high back in the mid 90's.— Michael Size (@Sly_Botts) January 17, 2018
Hasn't that been well established for at least the last decade?— Darragh B O' Donovan (@Dazzmondo95) January 16, 2018
But many were just glad rats were finally found "not guilty" of the 600-year-old charges:
I hope the rat's get a pardon. They've suffered silently for so long— ♜ (@R3d___D0g) January 16, 2018
Good that this historical injustice against the rats has been corrected.— PD (@OAKS108) January 16, 2018
Now that the rats are cleared, though, cats may have some explaining to do:
So our feline "friends" have been taking credit for saving entire cities in Europe when, in fact, they've done nothing?— Steve Is Damaged (@SteveIsDamaged) January 16, 2018
Typical cat play.