Scientists revealed that the last meal of Oetzi the Ice Man is balanced but also high in fat.
The man lived 5,300 years ago and died in a frozen ice river. His body was preserved in ice for thousands of years until it was discovered in 1991.
Scientists have found a number of things about his life, including what he ate before he died.
They say the man fills his stomach with fat from wild goats, red venison, ancient einkorn seeds and poisonous ferns.
The fat level of the food is 50%, much higher than 10% as is modern food.
“If you consider the height of the Ice Man hunting ground, you need this kind of energy supply,” said Dr. Frank Maixner of the Eurac Research Institute for Mummy Studies in Bolzano, Italy.
“And the best way to do this is to eat fat, it provides the energy needed to survive in such a tough environment.”
What does this mean for our ancestral diet?
The study published in Current Biology provides an overview of the Copper Age menu.
The Ice Man food arrangement has been analyzed before, but not in this detail. This latest inquiry is based on the contents of his stomach.
Surprisingly, this new body part was discovered because of its unusual location, due to the process of body mummification.
Scientists can deduce fat not derived from dairy products, but from the Alpine ibex, a species of wild goats that live in the European Alps.
“The composition of the food is a balanced mix of carbohydrates, protein and also fat,” says Dr. Maixner. “Quite surprising the high level of fat that he eats.”
Nutritious but how does it feel?
This food makes Oetzi able to climb ice, but it might not taste so good.
“That’s goats fat and hard to imagine the taste,” said Dr. Maixner. “It’s definitely not as good as we eat now.
“Especially remembering the absence of salt, the original flavor of the meat, the fat – all of that – I think it’s hard to eat.”
Although Ice Men do not have to deal with processed foods, there is a negative side to the food arrangement.
He had shown signs of artery blockage when he died.
He was probably killed in the war, because there were injuries to his body. This man also carries weapons, including a copper ax.
Do Ice Men Know Herbalism?
He is also likely to eat medicines from plants, because the researchers found traces of a fern bracken in his stomach.
Another possibility is that he wraps food with fern leaves and accidentally eats poisoned spores.
Wild animal meat may be eaten directly or it may be dried.