Black Death: It was definitely the Bubonic Plague, and you can't catch it

black_death.jpgAnd now, for your random news of the day...

Remember the Black Death that you learned about in your middle school history class? You know, the illness that devastated Europe in the 14th century, killing over a third of the population?

Well, using bones dug up from medieval graveyards, scientists have confirmed that it was the Bubonic Plague -- a bacteria called Yersinia pestis -- and that it's extinct. (That means you can put away the mask you've been saving since the last SARS scare.)

Yes, there are still around 2,000 recorded cases of bubonic and pneumonic plague every year, but it's not from the same strain that took out so many millions of people. The plague has mutated.

And just like that, a 660-year-old mystery... solved. Kind of anticlimactic, no?