Christopher Columbus Father of Modern Syphilis

columbus.jpgThe New Scientist says this week that there's been "a long-running row" over where syphilis came from. Whatever rifts formed in the scientific community over arguments about the "French Ache" have been bridged, as researchers at Emory University found syphilis was introduced to the world by that rascal, Christopher Columbus, and his crew. Apparently, syphilis is the mutant child of the whimsically named skin infection, "Yaws," which may have even afflicted our ancestors before they became human. The disease affected mainly children in hot, tropical areas until Columbus and friends picked it up in the Caribbean and transported it back to Europe in 1493. Proving that dudes have been getting STD’s on vacation since the inception of intercontinental travel, researchers found "telltale syphilitic marks on ancient New World skeletons." What exactly does a syphilitic mark on a skeleton look like, anyway? No word yet on how this discovery will affect grade school curriculum.-Andy Wright

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