Skip to comments.The Iceman's Last Meal
Posted on 06/20/2011 5:57:50 PM PDT by Fractal Trader
Less than 2 hours before he hiked his last steps in the Tyrolean Alps 5000 years ago, Ötzi the Iceman fueled up on a last meal of ibex meat. That was the conclusion of a talk here last week at the 7th World Congress on Mummy Studies, during which researchersarmed with Ötzi's newly sequenced genome and a detailed dental analysisalso concluded that the Iceman had brown eyes and probably wasn't much of a tooth brusher.
The Iceman, discovered in the Italian Alps in 1991 some 5200 years after his death, has been a gold mine of information about Neolithic life, as researchers have extensively studied his gearcopper ax, hide and leather clothing, and accessoriesand his body. Previous research on the Iceman's meals focused on fecal material removed from his bowels. The contents showed that he dined on red deer meat and possibly cereal some 4 hours before his death.
But a team led by microbiologist Frank Maixner of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy, recently reexamined computed tomography scans taken in 2005 and spotted, for the first time, the Iceman's stomach. As the researchers reported at the meeting, the organ had moved upward to an unusual position, and it looked full. When they took a sample of the stomach contents and sequenced the DNA of the animal fibers they found, they discovered that Ötzi, just 30 to 120 minutes before his death, had dined on the meat of an Alpine ibex, an animal that frequents high elevations and whose body parts were once thought to possess medicinal qualities.
The new findings are "cutting edge" says Niels Lynnerup, a specialist in forensic medicine at the University of Copenhagen. "We are now inching our way to the last minutes of the Iceman."
In a separate presentation, dentist Roger Seiler and anatomist Frank Rühli of the Centre for Evolutionary Medicine at the University of Zürich, examined the dental health of the Iceman, who probably died between the age of 35 and 40. Previously, researchers examining radiological images of his teeth discerned no trace of cavities or other dental problems. But the Swiss team created new three-dimensional images of the ancient traveler's dentition. These showed that the Iceman suffered a blunt force trauma to two teethpossibly a blow to the mouthat least several days before his death and was plagued by both periodontal disease and cavities. The cavities, Seiler said in his talk, confirm that the Iceman ate a diet abounding in carbohydrates, such as bread or cereal, and reveal that he possessed a "heavy bacterial dose on these teeth."
5,200 years ago.
Ibex: It’s what’s for dinner!
Interesting, thanks for the post.
CAT scans and DNA sequencing are opening up so many new avenues in archaeology it will take decades to describe and catalog the data. Amazing stuff...
Isn’t there an active effort underway right now to clone a baby mammonth?? (I don’t feel like wading through Google at the moment, and Freepers know just about all...) As I recall, it was going to take something like five or six generations of very careful breeding, and using African elephants as foster mothers, but because so much intact mammoth DNA has been recovered and sequenced, the project is possible. There have been a number of intact or nearly intact and solidly frozen mammoths collected in just the last couple of decades that the DNA research is quite advanced...
I bet that Iceman never met an ibex like this one!
I was laughing so hard, everyone in my house came to see what was so funny. A good time was had by all. Thanks.
There is. A short article is here: http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/17/scientists-trying-to-clone-resurrect-extinct-mammoth/?hpt=T2
I got this link from the wikipedia entry for ‘woolly mammoth’, which also has some interesting references on there being still surviving herds in the Siberian wilderness (at least to the early 1900’s). Caveat lector... but interesting.
An extinct animal or subspecies has already been brought back this way, some animal from the Pyrenees. I’m still looking for the link - it died shortly after birth though.
Did not know she had a son and that he like ibex.
Phew, I thought this was about George Gervin.
Thanks for the link! That’s exactly what I was thinking of...I think Smithsonian did an article on this some time back, and I may dig through my back issues and see if I can find it again. It laid out the (presumed) required steps for a successful mammoth cloning, although there are a couple of different approaches.
This is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. A project like this could go on for years....
We dug up one in a peat bog in northern IN many years ago. Still had some pliable meat on the bone.
You’re welcome. I found out about this a few weeks ago, and have been imagining mammoth burgers, mammoth steaks, slow-cooked mammoth ribs since. I think if there were the funding this could move fairly rapidly - take a look at the ibex from the Pyrenees link too. There seem to be plenty of DNA available, from several different woolly mammoth, some in very good quality still. I thought I remembered the Russians working on this too, not just the Japanese, but can’t find that link as quickly.
Did milk run out of your nose when you laughed? LOL!
Should have skipped the ibex and strolled on until he found a White Castle.