Scientists claim to find dinosaur remains from day of asteroid strike: report

The remains were found at North Dakota’s Tanis dig site.

Scientists claim to have found the remains of a dinosaur that was killed on the day a massive asteroid struck Earth 66 million years ago. 

The dinosaur leg was reportedly preserved as debris from the impact rained down.

“We’ve got so many details with this site that tell us what happened moment by moment, it’s almost like watching it play out in the movies. You look at the rock column, you look at the fossils there, and it brings you back to that day,” Robert DePalma, the University of Manchester graduate student who leads the Tanis dig in North Dakota, told BBC News on Wednesday.

The network has spent three years filming there for a show that’s set to air in just over a week.

Along with the leg, researchers said they found fish, a fossil turtle, small mammals, skin from a triceratops, the embryo of a flying pterosaur and a fragment from the asteroid.

The network said the remains have been jumbled together, with spherules linked to the impact site off the Yucatan Peninsula. 

Particles from tree resin contained inclusions that “imply an extra-terrestrial origin.”

Professor Paul Barrett, from London’s Natural History Museum, looked at the leg and deemed the dinosaur a scaly Thescelosaurus.

The limb, he noted, looks like it was “ripped off really quickly,” suggesting that the creature died “more or less instantaneously.” 

The question remains: Did it actually die on the exact day? 

One professor told the BBC he wants to see more peer-reviewed articles and additional independent assessments. 

“Those fish with the spherules in their gills, they’re an absolute calling card for the asteroid. But for some of the other claims – I’d say they have a lot circumstantial evidence that hasn’t yet been presented to the jury,” professor Steve Brusatte, from the University of Edinburgh, said. 

Julia Musto is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find her on Twitter at @JuliaElenaMusto.

1 Comment

Filed under Animals, Humor and Observations

T. Rex might actually be three separate species: study

The controversial study looked at a dataset of 37 specimens.

The iconic Tyrannosaurus rex, or “T. Rex,” might need to be re-categorized into three distinct species, according to researchers. 

The Tyrannosaurus rex is the only recognized species of the group of dinosaurs Tyrannosaurus to date – though previous research has reportedly acknowledged variation across Tyrannosaurs skeletal remains. 

In a controversial new study published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal Evolutionary Biology, South Carolina and Maryland paleontologists conducted an analysis of skeletal remains they said reveal physical differences in the femur and other bones and dental structures. 

Based on a dataset of 37 specimens, the group looked at the robustness in the femur of 24 specimens and measured the diameter of the base of teeth or space in the gums to assess if specimens had one or two slender teeth resembling incisors. 

According to an accompanying release, the scientists observed that the femur varied across specimens, with two times more robust femurs than svelte ones across specimens. Robust femurs were also found in some juvenile specimens and “gracile” femurs were found in some that were full adult size, suggesting that variation is not related to growth. 

Dental structure also varied and those with one incisorform tooth were correlated with often having higher femur gracility.

Visitors look at a 67 million year-old skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur, named Trix, during the first day of the exhibition "A T-Rex in Paris" at the  French National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France, June 6, 2018. 

Visitors look at a 67 million year-old skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur, named Trix, during the first day of the exhibition “A T-Rex in Paris” at the  French National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France, June 6, 2018.  (REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer)

They explained the Tyrannosaurus specimens “exhibit such a remarkable degree of proportional variations, distributed at different stratigraphic levels, that the pattern favors multiple species at least partly separated by time; ontogenetic and sexual causes being less consistent with the data.”

“Variation in dentary incisiform counts correlate with skeletal robusticity and also appear to change over time,” the authors noted. 

28 specimens could be identified in distinct layers of sediment at the Lancian upper Maastrichtian formations in North America – which was estimated to be from between 67.5 to 66 million years ago – and the paleontologists compared Tyrannosaurus specimens with other theropod species found in lower layers of sediment.

Only robust Tyrannosaurus femurs were found in the lower layer of sediment – and variation was not different to that of other theropod species – which the release said indicates that just one species of Tyrannosaurus likely existed at this point. 

However, the variation in Tyrannosaurus femur robustness in the top layer of the sediments was higher, suggesting the specimens had physically developed into more distinct forms and other dinosaur species. 

“We found that the changes in Tyrannosaurus femurs are likely not related to the sex or age of the specimen,” lead author Gregory Paul said in a statement. “We propose that the changes in the femur may have evolved over time from a common ancestor who displayed more robust femurs to become more gracile in later species. The differences in femur robustness across layers of sediment may be considered distinct enough that the specimens could potentially be considered separate species.”

Based on that evidence, the researchers said three morphotypes – what Science Direct defines as any of a group of different types of individuals of the same species in a population – and two additional species of Tyrannosaurus were “diagnosed” and named. 

“One robust species with two small incisors in each dentary appears to have been present initially, followed by two contemporaneous species (one robust and another gracile) both of which had one small incisor in each dentary, suggesting both anagenesis and cladogenesis occurred,” they continued. 

Evolution can take place by anagenesis, in which changes occur within a lineage. Whereas, in cladogenesis, a lineage splits into two or more separate lines.

The authors nominated two potential species: “Tyrannosaurus imperator” and “Tyrannosaurus regina.”

Tyrannosaurus imperator relates to specimens found at the lower and middle layers of sediment, with more robust femurs and usually two incisor teeth.

Tyrannosaurus regina is linked to specimens from the upper and possibly middle layers of sediment, with slenderer femurs and one incisor tooth. 

The Tyrannosaurus rex was identified in the upper and possibly middle layer of sediment, with more robust femurs and only one incisor tooth. 

The authors acknowledged that they cannot rule out that variation is due to extreme individual differences, or atypical sexual dimorphism, rather than separate groups. They also cautioned that the location within sediment layers is not known for some specimens. 

Reaction to the study from scientists has been largely skeptical, with some claiming the paper does not have enough evidence to reach its conclusions – and raising concerns over some of the specimens included in the study to National Geographic. 

Paul told The New York Times on Feb. 28 that he knows his proposal is provocative. 

“I’m aware that there could be a lot of people who aren’t going to be happy about this,” he told the publication. “And, my response to them is: Publish a refutation.”

Julia Musto is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find her on Twitter at @JuliaElenaMusto.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animals, Humor and Observations

UK archeologists unearth Roman-era cemetery holding dozens of decapitated skeletons

They could have been outcasts or criminals, according to researchers

A high-speed rail project led to the gruesome discovery of dozens of decapitated corpses just outside a major metropolis.

United Kingdom archeologists have announced the discovery of about 40 2,000-year-old decapitated corpses buried in an ancient Roman village unearthed during the construction of the HS2 project, an hour northwest of London.

In addition to the ruins of the village, artifacts and ancient coins, they found burial sites for more than 400 people, about 10% of whom had been decapitated. They could have been outcasts or criminals, according to authorities, but the nature of their beheadings was not fully clear.

Roman lead die uncovered during archaeological excavations at Fleet Marston, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. Excavations took place during 2021.

Roman lead die uncovered during archaeological excavations at Fleet Marston, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. Excavations took place during 2021. (HS2)

Some of those had their skulls placed between their legs or at their feet, according to the researchers.

“One interpretation of this burial practice is that it could be the burial of criminals or a type of outcast, although decapitation is well-known elsewhere and appears to have been a normal, albeit marginal, burial rite during the late Roman period,” the HS2 said in a statement over the weekend.

Roman skeleton with head placed between legs uncovered during archaeological excavations at Fleet Marston, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. Excavations took place during 2021.

Roman skeleton with head placed between legs uncovered during archaeological excavations at Fleet Marston, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. Excavations took place during 2021. (HS2)

Researchers expect to learn more about Britain’s Roman era and how residents once lived there.

“All human remains uncovered will be treated with dignity, care and respect and our discoveries will be shared with the community,” Helen Wass, HS2 Ltd’s head of heritage. 

Search teams also discovered ancient pottery, an old lead die, as well as other tools and ornaments. 

  • Roman skeleton with head placed between legs uncovered during archaeological excavations at Fleet Marston, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. Excavations took place during 2021. (HS2)

HS2 said that they also found hundreds of ancient coins, suggesting “trade and commerce” in the town, which was situated along a defunct road between the former Roman cities of Verulamium, now St. Albans, and Corinium Dobunnorum, now Cirencester. 

The HS2 rail system is a planned cross-country, high-speed line. Since 2018, HS2 has investigated about 100 archeological sites, including the Fleet Marston village.

A team of over 50 archeologists began excavating the site last year, according to the project organizers.

Climate change activists have protested the rail project, demanding the government halt the construction. Last month, London police evicted a group of them from a city park, where they had set up an encampment to demand an end to the project.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to michael.ruiz@fox.com and on Twitter: @mikerreports

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations, Uncategorized

History of popcorn: Fun facts about the movie theater snack

Americans consume 15 billion quarts of popcorn per year.

Wednesday is National Popcorn Day, and what better way to celebrate than by learning about the history of the delicious snack? 

According to The Popcorn Board, the oldest-known ears of corn that were popped are from about 4,000 years ago and were discovered in current-day New Mexico in 1948 and 1950.  

Meanwhile, History.com reported in 2018 that there were traces of popcorn in 1,000-year-old Peruvian tombs. 

Popcorn was also significant to the Aztec people for eating, ceremonies and decorations, according to The Popcorn Board. 

The snack became a common food in American households by the mid-1800s, according to History.com. Popcorn was popular for late-night snacks by the fire and at picnics, the website reported. 

In the 1890s, Charles Cretors created the first popcorn-popping machine, and by 1900, he created a horse-drawn popcorn wagon, which led to mass consumption of the snack, History.com reported.

Popcorn didn’t hit movie theaters until the Great Depression, according to Smithsonian Magazine. In fact, the movie theaters that started selling popcorn were able to survive the Great Depression, while other movie theaters had to close because of poor sales.

The first microwave popcorn bag was patented by General Mills in 1981, according to History.com.

Today, Americans consume 15 billion quarts of popcorn per year, according to The Popcorn Board. 

Ann W. Schmidt is a lifestyle reporter and editor for Fox News Digital. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

Yellowstone’s Giantess Geyser erupts for first time in 6 years, roars ‘back to life

The geyser, located in Wyoming, historically erupted two to six times per year

The Giantess Geyser, which is located in Wyoming, historically erupted two to six times per year, according to the National Park Service (NPS).

WOMAN FALLS INTO THERMAL FEATURE AT YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK CLOSED DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS

Footage from an NPS webcam shows the geyser erupting as parkgoers look on.

The Giantess Geyser at Yellowstone National Park erupted on Tuesday after six and a half years of dormancy.

The Giantess Geyser at Yellowstone National Park erupted on Tuesday after six and a half years of dormancy. (National Park Service)

According to the park service website, “infrequent but violent” eruptions characterize Giantess Geyser.

An eruption from the fountain-type geyser can cause the surrounding area to shake from underground steam explosions just before the initial eruptions.

Eruptions may occur twice hourly, and continue for four to 48 hours, according to the NPS.

When the geyser erupts, it typically shoots a stream that is 100-200 feet high.

The six-year gap between eruptions was the longest since at least the 1980s, but the geyser has had years-long dormant periods before, according to the agency.

“Why geysers turn off and on is something that is not well understood,” the USGS tweeted. “They are very fragile systems.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

Dinosaur diagnosed with malignant cancer for the first time: researchers say The cancer was found in the leg bone of a Centrosaurus which lived 76 to 77 million years ago

Researchers on Monday announced the discovery and diagnosis of an aggressive type of bone cancer in a dinosaur, making it the first known example of a dinosaur afflicted by malignant cancer, according to a study.

A team of researchers, including David Evans of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and Mark Crowther a hematologist at McMaster University, re-evaluated the bone and determined it was actually osteosarcoma, an aggressive type of bone cancer, according to a study published the journal Lancet Oncology.

“Diagnosis of aggressive cancer like this in dinosaurs has been elusive and requires medical expertise and multiple levels of analysis to properly identify,” Crowther said in a press release by the ROM. “Here, we show the unmistakable signature of advanced bone cancer in 76-million-year-old horned dinosaur — the first of its kind. It’s very exciting.”

Evans said the lower leg bone contained “a massive gnarly tumor larger than an apple.”

The researchers — assembled from a variety of different fields — diagnosed the tumor using high-resolution CT scans, where they observed thin sections under the microscope to assess it at a cellular level.

Most tumors occur in soft tissue that doesn’t willingly fossilize, so there is little evidence of cancer in fossil records, according to Reuters.

The study’s findings could establish links between ancient and modern animals and even help scientists learn more about the evolution and genetics of various diseases.

Illustration of two Centrosauruses (Photo by De Agostini via Getty Images/De Agostini via Getty Images)

Illustration of two Centrosauruses (Photo by De Agostini via Getty Images/De Agostini via Getty Images)

“Evidence of many other diseases that we share with dinosaurs and other extinct animals may yet be sitting in museum collections in need of re-examination using modern analytical techniques,” the release said.

Tumors were also found in a dinosaur earlier this year, although a malignant cancer diagnosis has yet to be confirmed.

“This finding speaks to the biology of cancer. It is not something novel or new, but probably has occurred since time immemorial and is an expected complication in all animals,” added Crowther, according to the news organization.

While the Centrosaurus was likely weak from cancer before it died, Evans said the disease may not have killed the dinosaur. The fossil was found in a bonebed containing the remains of hundreds of other Centrosaurus dinosaurs, which suggested that they died in a flood.

“This remarkable find shows that no matter how big or powerful some dinosaurs may seem, they were affected by many of the same diseases we see in humans and other animals today, including cancer,” he added, according to Reuters. “Dinosaurs seem like mythical beasts, but they were living, breathing animals that suffered through horrible injuries and diseases.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Animals, Humor and Observations

Radar reveals entire ancient Roman city in stunning detail

Experts have revealed an entire ancient Roman city in Italy through Ground Penetrating Radar technology.

Archaeologists from the University of Cambridge and Ghent University in Belgium, discovered a temple, a bath complex, a market and a public monument, according to a statement. The radar even revealed a complex of water pipes beneath the city.

Falerii Novi, they discovered, was just under half the size of the famous ancient city of Pompeii.

Jupiter's gate in the walls of Falerii Novi, Lazio, Italy - file photo.

Jupiter’s gate in the walls of Falerii Novi, Lazio, Italy – file photo. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

The study is published in the journal Antiquity. Experts say that the findings could have major implications for archaeological research.

“The astonishing level of detail which we have achieved at Falerii Novi, and the surprising features that GPR has revealed, suggest that this type of survey could transform the way archaeologists investigate urban sites, as total entities,” said University of Cambridge professor Martin Millett, one of the study’s authors, in the statement.

Ground Penetrating Radar map of the newly discovered temple in the Roman city of Falerii Novi, Italy.

Ground Penetrating Radar map of the newly discovered temple in the Roman city of Falerii Novi, Italy. (L. Verdonck)

The Roman Empire continues to reveal its secrets. A sinkhole that recently appeared near the famous Pantheon in Rome, for example, revealed an ancient imperial pavement.

In 2017, in a separate project, archaeologists said that they had found a lost Roman city that was once home to Jesus’ apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip.

Archaeologists from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College, Israel and Nyack College in New York, completed excavations at el-Araj on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. El-Araj has long been considered a possible location of the ancient city of Julias, which was also known as Bethsaida.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

1 Comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

Incredible bioluminescent waves create stunning scenes on California beaches

By James Rogers | Fox News

Incredible bioluminescent waves have been creating remarkable scenes at Southern California’s beaches.

A surfer rides on a bioluminescent wave at the San Clemente pier on April 30, 2020 in San Diego, California.

A surfer rides on a bioluminescent wave at the San Clemente pier on April 30, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

The striking blue nighttime waves have generated plenty of buzz on social media.

“#USCG Marine Safety and Security Team LA/LB got a great view of bioluminescent plankton as their boat churned up a light show!,” tweeted the U.S. Coast Guard.

 

A strong Red tide sees Pacific Ocean waters turn a glowing bioluminescent Blue, as well as drawing the attention of curious Los Angelenos, despite Coronavirus stay-at-home orders and closed beaches, in Playa Del Rey, CA, USA, on May 7, 2020.(Photo by John Fredricks/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A strong Red tide sees Pacific Ocean waters turn a glowing bioluminescent Blue, as well as drawing the attention of curious Los Angelenos, despite Coronavirus stay-at-home orders and closed beaches, in Playa Del Rey, CA, USA, on May 7, 2020.(Photo by John Fredricks/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Newport Beach-based photographer Patrick Coyne also captured phenomenal footage of dolphins swimming in the bioluminescent waters. “Last night was truly one of the most magical nights of my life,” he wrote on Instagram.

On Friday, CBS Los Angeles reported that police in Manhattan Beach will be increasing their patrols this weekend in response to the bioluminescent phenomenon, which has drawn significant visitors in recent weeks. LA County beaches, which were closed amid the coronavirus crisis, reopened with restrictions on May 13.

On its website, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography notes that the cellular regulation of dinoflagellate bioluminescence is complex and only partially understood. However, the luminescent chemistry is ultimately caused by a drop in pH, or or an increase in acidity, due to an influx of protons within the cell.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

Robot ‘spy’ gorilla records wild gorillas singing and farting, because nature is beautiful

This is the first time that singing mountain gorillas have been caught on camera.

A mountain gorilla family in Uganda peers into the "spy" camera.

A mountain gorilla family in Uganda peers into the “spy” camera.
(Image: © Copyright John Downer Productions)

Mountain gorillas have been caught on camera as they “sing” during their supper, a behavior that has never before been documented on video. Filmmakers captured the astonishing footage of the primate crooners with a little help from a very special camera: a robotic “spy” designed to look like a young gorilla.

The singing apes make their television debut on April 29 in the returning PBS series, “Nature: Spy in the Wild 2.” Like its predecessor, which first aired in 2017, the program documents remarkable up-close glimpses of elusive wildlife behavior, seen through the “eyes” of robots that are uncanny lookalikes of the creatures that they film.

Though human camera operators typically keep a safe distance from wild gorillas, the lifelike animatronic gorilla spy was able to infiltrate a troop and film their daily routines, which included an impromptu suppertime serenade.

Footage of the singing gorillas is featured in the first episode of “Spy in the Wild 2” and shows the apes reclining amid dense foliage in a sanctuary in Uganda. As they munched on leaves and stems, they hummed to themselves in contentment, accompanying their vegetarian meal with a vocal “chorus of appreciation,” according to the episode’s narrator.

And the gorillas produced a chorus of mealtime music in more ways than one. Under the spy robot’s watchful camera eye, the great apes also revealed that they were extremely gassy, punctuating their dinner with near-constant bursts of flatulence.

Scientists confirmed in 2016 that gorillas sing to themselves while eating, recording audio of behavior that had long been anecdotal. The researchers observed those western lowland gorillas in a protected forest in the Republic of Congo and published their findings in the journal PLOS ONE.

The PLOS ONE study authors also learned that older gorillas performed mealtime humming and singing more than young gorillas; that males “sang” more often than females did; and that gorillas were more likely to sing while eating aquatic plants and seeds, rather than insects.

Expressive face

Creating a realistic robot spy that could fool a gorilla meant designing a face that was mobile and expressive, particularly around the eyes, said “Spy in the Wild 2” producer Matt Gordon.

“Eye communication is very important amongst gorillas,” Gordon told Live Science. “You’ll see in the footage in the first episode; the gorillas came straight over to our spy gorilla and peered right into its eyes. So we made sure that the gorilla had the most amount of detail put into the face.”

A robotic spy "gorilla" enabled filmmakers to capture never-before-seen footage of gorillas singing during their dinner.

A robotic spy “gorilla” enabled filmmakers to capture never-before-seen footage of gorillas singing during their dinner. (Image credit: Copyright John Downer Productions)

Other types of robotic animal spies might need greater mobility in the air or water, such as an animatronic pelican or sea otter. And infiltrating communities of animals that live in colonies, like meerkats, requires a robot to smell like its animal subjects in order to get close to them.

“We sometimes have to anoint them in feces to allow them to be accepted into the group,” Gordon said. “It’s not the most pleasant of jobs.”

A submissive gaze

One tricky challenge for the gorilla robot was hat it had to pass inspection by a dominant male. “We wanted to make sure that we were not being threatening, so we averted the gaze of our spy gorilla,” Gordon said. This display of submissiveness convinced the male that the robot wasn’t a threat; he then signaled to the troop that it was safe for them to take a closer look at the “stranger.”

The robot was also able to beat its chest in response to a baby gorilla’s chest-beating, allowing the filmmakers to capture a rare glimpse of primate playtime.

“A young gorilla came over and did the natural thing for him, which was to beat its chest. For a baby gorilla, that means ‘I want to play,’ and if our gorilla was lifeless, not moving, I think the gorilla would have lost interest. But our spy gorilla was able to beat its chest too,” Gordon said.

“We had this wonderful, magical moment where there was this lovely to and fro between our spy gorilla and the baby gorilla, where they were really interacting,” he said. “That would be very difficult to see with traditional filming techniques.”

Nature: Spy in the Wild 2” airs nationwide on Wednesdays from April 29 to May 20 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and streams on pbs.org/spyinthewild and on the PBS Video app.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animals

History’s 5 deadliest pandemics and epidemics

5) ANTONINE PLAGUE (165-180 AD): 5 MILLION DEAD

The symptoms, described by famous Roman physician Galen, were unpleasant: diarrhea, coughing, fever, dry throat and the aforementioned papules.

One legend floating around during the time had it that the disease was released when a Roman soldier accidentally opened a golden casket in the temple of Apollo, freeing the cursed plague from confinement. Either way, many were certain that they had done something to anger the gods, such as the sack of the ancient Mesopotamian city of Seleucia. Christians also were blamed for angering the gods.

4) PLAGUE OF JUSTINIAN (540-542 AD): AT LEAST 25 MILLION DEAD

Believed to have been brought over by rat-infested merchant ships sailing into Egypt, at one point the Plague of Justinian (named after the ruling Byzantine emperor at the time) is said to have killed up to 100,000 people a day on average. Recently these figures have been called into question, but researchers have said the Bubonic Plague (Yersinia pestis) spread and continued to pop up from time to time in Europe, Asia, and Africa for years after its arrival in 541 AD, killing millions of people.

Byzantine Greek scholar Procopius wrote of the plague’s beginnings, “It began with the Egyptians who live in Pelusium. It divided and part went to Alexandria and the rest of Egypt, and part to the people of Palestine, the neighbors of the Egyptians, and from there, overran the whole earth.”

The bubonic plague can be transferred from rats to humans through flea bites. Pus filled buboes then grow on parts of the body — generally in the armpit and groin area — and a fever develops. Though the Black Death was caused by the same disease, researchers have determined that a different strain caused the Justinian Plague.

3)HIV/AIDS (PEAK YEARS 2005-2012): 36 MILLION DEAD

Thought to have originated in the Congo when the virus was transmitted from chimpanzee to human in 1920, HIV — the virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) — didn’t begin to spread in America until the early ’80s, though some research indicates it may have arrived in New York City from Haiti as early as 1970. In 1981, gay men began being hospitalized for rare cancers and lung infections. Doctors didn’t know how these rare diseases were cropping up, though they believed some condition must have been causing them. In 1982, heroin users began getting these diseases as well, and that year they named the condition AIDS.  HIV was isolated in a lab and identified in a French lab in 1983.

The World Health Organization characterizes HIV/AIDS as a global epidemic, whereas the CDC describes it as a pandemic.

According to UNAIDS, an estimated 36 million people are estimated to have died from AIDS-related causes, the peak occurring in 2005 with 2.3 million deaths. The worst area hit was Sub-Saharan Africa, where in 2005, an estimated 2.7 million people became infected with HIV and 2 million adults and children died of AIDS.

In the years since, while antivirals and preventative medication PrEP have helped to prevent transmission of the disease, the number in the United States has leveled off since 2013 with around 39,000 new HIV infections annually.

2)SPANISH FLU PANDEMIC (1918-1920): 50 MILLION DEAD

The 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic was the worst in recent history, with one-third of the earth’s population becoming infected with the H1N1 virus, eventually killing 50 million people. Researchers still can’t pinpoint what made the virus so deadly, but like the current coronavirus pandemic, there was no vaccine at the time. People were instructed to quarantine, maintain social distance, wash hands and sterilize, which was basically all they could do. Some U.S. cities, such as San Francisco, also passed ordinances forcing people to wear masks.

The disease is believed to have first appeared in 1916 in a British army hospital, located in Étaples, France, and like the H5N1 Virus, may have been caused by birds. This severe pneumonia-like influenza festered and spread in the cold, wet trenches of World War I, and from there, it circled the globe.

1) THE BLACK DEATH (1347-1353 AD): 50 to 200 MILLION+ DEAD

Some figures of the Black Death’s toll range from 50 million, others 200 million or higher, which arguably would make it the most deadly pandemic in world history.

Many scholars believe that, like COVID-19, the Black Death originated in Asia. It was spread by the movement of Batu Khan’s Golden Horde. During the horde’s siege of Caffa (A major seaport on the Black Sea), the Mongols — who were losing numbers rapidly to the disease — catapulted buboe-riddled bodies over the city walls. It spread to the fleeing populace, whose merchants then took it over the Black Sea.

The nightmare began for Europe one October day in 1347 as 12 ships from the Black Sea arrived in Sicily. Porters greeting the ships found a grisly sight: a few ill sailors, their bodies ravaged with black, oozing buboes, standing on deck among their dead crewmates. Despite soon banishing the ships from the port, the damage already was done.

From Sicily, the disease spread like wildfire, ravaging the European population until 1353. Symptoms included high fever, chills, vomiting and diarrhea. It also caused the aforementioned pus-filled buboes as well as parts of the body (nose, fingers, toes, etc.) to become black with gangrene. While it has long been maintained that the Black Death was spread through fleas from rats, many now believe it was spread through human fleas and body lice. Dr. Samuel K. Cohn, a medieval history professor at the University of Glasgow and author of “The Black Death Transformed (2002), was one of the original proponents of the theory that it was spread via human-to-human transmission.

“It spread very quickly,” Cohn told Fox News. “It was not spread by the inefficient mechanism of fleas on rats, although the textbooks demand that that must be the case, especially now with ancient DNA which shows with a strain of Yersinia pestis – however as we know from diseases like SARS and syphilis, different pathogens can be very closely related and produce completely different diseases.”

In his book, Cohn noted that people developed a resistance to the Black Death, which was a medical impossibility with the “classic” Bubonic Plague. Also, the Black Death thrived in temperatures and seasons when rat fleas were at their lowest ebb. What exactly the Black Death was remained unknown, though one thing was sure- it spread fast and would spread even faster today than COVID-19 thanks to modern modes of transportation.

“I would say the Black Death was even faster spreading [than coronavirus] in some ways given its track-record in circumnavigating Europe,” Cohn explained. “The Black Death could only move as fast as people and horses could move, so it couldn’t spread faster than an airplane can carry people. But, the whole dissemination seems to have been from 1348-49, a more quickly spreading disease within a certain area over time, and the disease knocked out anywhere from a half to 3/4 of the population of Florence in the space of three or four months.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

%d bloggers like this: