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The Black Death was one of the most disastrous pandemics in human history. But what the life was like after this catastrophe? In order to answer this question Sharon N. DeWitte analyzed the skeletons from medieval graveyards. The archaeologist examined differences in survivorship and mortality risk between the pre- and post-Black Death populations of London. The results of this study suggest that health of the population improved after this epidemic.

There are compelling reasons to believe that the plague epidemic had had beneficial effects for the health of the subsequent generations. “By targeting frail people of all ages, and killing them by the hundreds of thousands within an extremely short period of time, the Black Death might have represented a strong force of natural selection and removed the weakest individuals on a very broad scale within Europe,“ DeWitte elaborates. In addition, the Black Death significantly changed the social structure of some European regions. Tragic depopulation created the shortage of working people. This shortage caused wages’ rise. Products prices fell too. Consequently, standards of living increased. For instance, people started to consume more food of higher quality.


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