Discussions concerning the origin and spread of malaria are popular. Colourful and diverse players, such as early hominids, agriculturalists, conquistadors and various animals, tend to feature prominently in imagined horrible histories. So, what of recent studies on genomic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum that claim to give more precision to the subject? Have they restricted the freeform speculation or just enhanced it? Or, are they pointing to a more important understanding about the parasite that might affect its future?