Iceman's last meal was high-fat, high-calorie feast

Iceman's last meal was high-fat, high-calorie feast

From BBC

Goat’s fat and wild venison, plus sides of ancient wheat and bracken.

It’s not a menu likely to appear on Masterchef, but for some of our ancestors it was a nutritious feast.

Scientists have revealed that the last supper of Oetzi the Iceman was well-balanced but also alarmingly high in fat.

The man lived 5,300 years ago and met his death on a frozen glacier. His body was preserved in the ice for millennia until it was discovered in 1991.

Scientists have been able to find out about many aspects of his life, including what he ate before he died.

They say he filled his stomach with fat from wild goat, meat from red deer, an ancient grain known as einkorn and toxic fern.

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The fat content was 50%, which is much higher than the 10% in the average modern diet.

“If you consider the altitude where the Iceman was hunting, 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 by eating fat; this gives you the necessary energy to survive in this harsh environment.”

What does this say about the diet of our ancestors?

The study, published in Current Biology, gives a rare glimpse into what was on the menu during the Copper Age.

The Iceman’s diet has been analysed before, but not in such detail. The latest investigation is based on looking at his stomach contents.

Surprisingly, this organ was discovered only recently as it was not in the normal place, due to the way his body was mummified over time.

The scientists were able to deduce that the fat came not from dairy products, but from

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