9/8/18

Remember Otzi the iceman? Died 5300 hundred years ago?

The Economist had an interesting article about what was in his stomach:  The following is quoted from the article.

“This revealed phytanic acid (frequently found in the fat and milk of ruminants), azelaic acid (common in wholegrain cereals) and gamma-terpinene (typically found in herbs like coriander). There was also a lot of iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium and sodium—substances consistent with the consumption of red meat or dairy products. DNA analysis of the materials showed the sources of the meat and fat to be ibex and red deer, and that the plant fragments came mainly from einkorn, an early form of domesticated wheat.

The real surprise was the proportion of the Iceman’s stomach contents that was animal fat—46% by weight. The only people nowadays who eat so much fat are those preparing for strenuous physical activities in harsh conditions. Dr Maixner and Dr Zink suggest that the Iceman’s contemporaries had worked out the value of fat in these circumstances, and that the Iceman himself, rather than being a spontaneous fugitive, had been planning on venturing into the mountains and had loaded up with high-fat foods in anticipation. The mystery of his death deepens.”

I ask, “was that a regular diet for everyone?” Note it was not all meat, but high fat, with a few extras.

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