Lice from 1,000-year-old mummies in Peru may unravel important clues about a different sort of passage: the migration patterns of America’s earliest humans.DNA sequencing found the strain of lice to be genetically the same as the form of body lice that spawns several deadly diseases, including typhus, which was blamed for the loss of Napoleon’s grand army and millions of other soldiers, he said.
The discovery of these parasites on 11th-century Peruvian mummies proves they were infesting the native Americans nearly 500 years before Europeans arrived, Reed said.
Molecular Identification of Lice from Pre‐Columbian Mummies. 2008. Didier Raoult et al. Journal of Infectious Diseases electronically published 6 February 2008.