(Photo courtesy of gizmodo.com)
Ötzi the Iceman, a frozen hunter who died in the Alps approximately 5,300 years ago, has provided an informative view into dining preferences of Europeans during the Chalcolithic Era. Scientists were given access to Ötzi’s corpse, and were able to analyze his last meal from the well-preserved contents of his stomach.
Just before his death, Ötzi ate the meat and a large amount of fat from an Ibex, a mountain goat found in the Alps. He also consumed the meat of a red deer, whole wheat seeds, and fern leaves, which possibly could have been a medicinal treatment for parasites also found in Ötzi’s gut.
Almost half of the contents of his stomach was body fat of the Ibex. It is believed, due to the extremely harsh environment, early man had to be fortified with foods that kept him strong and would give him the required energy he needed to survive.
The next step in learning from Ötzi is to attempt reconstruction of the bacteria composition and other microorganisms which lived in his gut. The purpose is to determine how they differ from modern man.
So much can be learned from ancient man, and hopefully continue teaching us how we got from there to here. It is a worthwhile journey, and thanks to Ötzi and other discoveries, the story can be told.