A gerbil
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Video

'Gerbils not rats' carried the plague to Europe

Scientists in Norway believe gerbils not black rats are to blame for outbreaks of the bubonic plague across medieval Europe.

Researchers have found a correlation between outbreaks in Europe and warm temperatures in Asia causing the gerbil population to rise and fleas to spread.

DNA from skeletons across Europe may reveal the answer.

The BBC's Richard Lister reports.

Go to next video: Black death pit unearthed by Crossrail