Biblical plagues happened in reality, say scientists

Tuesday, 30 March 2010 - 3:07pm IST | Place: London | Agency: ANI
Researchers believe they have found evidence of real natural disasters on which the ten plagues of Egypt, which led to Moses freeing the Israelites from slavery in the Book of Exodus in the Bible.

Scientists have claimed that the Biblical plagues that devastated Ancient Egypt in the Old Testament really happened and were the result of global warming and a volcanic eruption.

According to a report in The Telegraph, researchers believe they have found evidence of real natural disasters on which the ten plagues of Egypt, which led to Moses freeing the Israelites from slavery in the Book of Exodus in the Bible, were based.

Archaeologists now widely believe the plagues occurred at an ancient city of Pi-Rameses on the Nile Delta, which was the capital of Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Rameses the Second, who ruled between 1279BC and 1213BC.

The city appears to have been abandoned around 3,000 years ago and scientists claim the plagues could offer an explanation.

Climatologists studying the ancient climate at the time have discovered a dramatic shift in the climate in the area occurred towards the end of Rameses the Second's reign.

They found that Rameses reign coincided with a warm, wet climate, but then the climate switched to a dry period.

The scientists believe this switch in the climate was the trigger for the first of the plagues.

The rising temperatures could have caused the river Nile to dry up.

This marks the arrival of the first plague, which in the Bible is described as the Nile turning to blood.

According to Stephan Pflugmacher, a biologist at the Leibniz Institute for Water Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin, this description could have been the result of a toxic fresh water algae.

He said that the bacterium, known as Burgundy Blood algae, is known to have existed 3,000 years ago and still causes similar effects today.

"It multiplies massively in slow-moving warm waters with high levels of nutrition. And as it dies, it stains the water red," he said.

The scientists also claim that the arrival of this algae set in motion the events that led to the second, third and forth plagues - frogs, lice and flies.

The arrival of the toxic algae would have triggered such a transformation and forced the frogs to leave the water where they lived.

But as the frogs died, it would have meant that mosquitoes, flies and other insects would have flourished without the predators to keep their numbers under control.

This, according to the scientists, could have led in turn to the fifth and sixth plagues - diseased livestock and boils.

The explosion of the volcano Thera, which was part of the Mediterranean islands of Santorini, just north of Crete, around 3,500 years ago, is now also thought to be responsible for triggering the seventh, eighth and ninth plagues that bring hail, locusts and darkness to Egypt.

The cause of the final plague, the death of the first borns of Egypt, has been suggested as being caused by a fungus that may have poisoned the grain supplies, of which male first born would have had first pickings and so been first to fall victim.




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