Monday, March 12, 2012

The Ice Man's DNA

Small Dead Animals points to this article about the Ice Man's DNA at
The Iceman mummy, also known as Otzi, is about 5,300 years old. Scientists studying his body since his discovery in the Italian Alps in 1991 have learned many things, including the cause of his death (an arrow to the back) and his last meal (ibex meat). An analysis of the corpse’s chemical composition suggested that he was born and lived his entire life in the Tyrol area where his body was found.
It also turns that he was genetically closest to the current population of Sardinia, suggesting that the current European population is a more recent arrival.  (I'm guessing Indo-Europeans replacing an earlier group.)  Also, in spite of being on the original paleo-diet, he had the beginnings of heart disease, in spite of there being no corporate food creators to blame.  He also had Lyme disease!

UPDATE: The scientist quoted in the article says:
“These discoveries put a lot of what we see today medically in a broader context,” said Bustamante. “For example, this man, who died when he was about 45 years old, was likely very fit. He got lots of exercise and ate a true paleo diet. And yet he had begun to develop heart disease. This shows that the selective forces we’re familiar with today just weren’t in the picture then. These types of disease were probably common, but they didn’t kill people. People died instead of an arrow in the back or in hunting accidents. There is still so much more to learn.”
One of the commenters says that Otzi ate cereals.  This report here indicates that he ate cereals:
According to the DNA reconstruction, the man's last meal was composed of red deer (Cervus elaphus) meat, and, possibly, cereals; this meal had been preceded by another one based on ibex (Capra ibex), different species of dicots, and cereals.


  1. He wasn't on a paleolithic diet, he was on a neolithic diet. As I recall, he had plenty of grains in his diet.