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When two pre-Columbian individuals died 1,000 years ago, arid conditions in the region of what is now Peru naturally mummified their bodies, as well as the lice in their long, braided hair....
The DNA matched that of the most common type of louse known to exist worldwide now and also before Europeans colonized the New World.
The findings absolve Columbus of responsibility for at least one wrong unintentionally wrought on the people he found in the Americas and called Indians. The Europeans who followed Columbus to America may have introduced diseases, namely smallpox and measles, but not the most common of lice, as had been suspected.