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Lessons From Ötzi, The Tyrolean H2o Ice Man. Business Office Ii

Otzi's Diet

Otzi's digestive tract contains the remains of 3 meals.  They were composed of cooked grains (wheat breadstuff together with wheat grains), meat, roots, fruit together with seeds (1, 2).  The meat came from 3 unlike animals-- chamois, blood-red deer together with ibex.  The "wheat" was genuinely non what nosotros would mean value of every bit modern wheat, but an ancestral multifariousness called einkorn.

Isotope analysis indicates that Otzi's habitual diet was primarily centered some constitute foods, likely heavily theme on grains but also incorporating a multifariousness of other plants (3).  He died inwards the outflow alongside a belly total of einkorn wheat.  Since wheat is harvested inwards the fall, this suggests that his civilization stored grain together with was theme on it for most if non all of the year.  However, he also clearly ate meat together with used leather made from his prey.  Researchers are nonetheless debating the quantity of meat inwards his diet, but it was in all probability secondary to grains together with other constitute foods. It isn't known whether or non he consumed dairy.

Otzi's diet would receive got been high inwards carbohydrate, to a greater extent than oftentimes than non from einkorn wheat (and perhaps other grains) but also from fruit together with perhaps legumes.  It was in all probability moderate inwards protein, alongside the poly peptide coming from grains, perhaps legumes together with some meat.  He in all probability didn't eat much fat, but he did larn some fatty from nuts together with meat.

Otzi's Health

Otzi was nigh 45 years quondam at the fourth dimension of his death, had a lean together with represent physique, together with stood roughly v feet, v inches tall (1.65 m).  This adult manful somebody summit is typical of hunter-gatherers together with other non-industrial people throughout the earth today (except those that rely heavily on dairy), but that's a subject for some other post. 

Otzi was non just the moving painting of health.  He suffered from a seat out of wellness problems, both infectious together with non-infectious inwards nature. 

Like nearly all non-industrial populations, Otzi in all probability had intestinal parasites; inwards his case, his colon contained whipworm eggs (4).  Lines inwards his fingernails showed signs of an unknown illness that occurred 3 times inwards the iv months earlier his death.  His trunk also bears deoxyribonucleic acid evidence that he may receive got been infected alongside Lyme disease, a serious chronic bacterial infection transmitted past times tick bites (5).

Otzi's trunk also shows signs of a seat out of non-infectious affliction processes.  Several of his major arteries were calcified-- suggesting advanced vascular affliction that's usually associated alongside an elevated pump assail risk.   He had 3 gallstones, which has been used to back upwards the persuasion that he ate a lot of brute fat, but this seems similar a major trammel of organized religious belief to me.  He had arthritis inwards several locations, including the spine together with hips (6).  He had cavities together with periodontitis (6a).  His lungs were blackened, presumably from the fume of fires used for various purposes, including smelting copper.


Otzi is in all probability fairly instance of early on agriculturalists inwards some ways, together with to a lesser extent, the hunter-gatherers that preceded him.  The archaeological (skeletal) tape shows evidence of severe physical stress inwards early on agriculturalists, including curt stature, cavities, together with skeletal abnormalities, which in all probability reverberate both nutritional together with infectious stress (Cohen together with Crane-Kramer. Ancient Health. 2007; Cohen. Health together with the Rise of Civilization. 1991).

The shift to agriculture involved a major alter inwards diet, away from a hunter-gatherer diet composed of various wild constitute together with brute foods, to a diet centered some grains.  Although some humans may receive got eaten grains for tens of thousands of years earlier domesticating plants, grains clearly became a to a greater extent than cardinal source of nutrient during the Neolithic. This posed a seat out of nutritional problems that would receive got exerted selective pressure level over time, favoring genetic adaptations to the novel diet.  Later agriculturalists were taller together with healthier than early on agriculturalists, in all probability due to a combination of genetic together with cultural adaptations (Cohen together with Armelagos. Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture. 1984).

The to a greater extent than sedentary lifestyle, higher population density, together with contact alongside livestock associated alongside agricultural life created novel opportunities for human pathogens (Cohen. Health together with the Rise of Civilization. 1991).  Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 seat out of parasites, bacteria together with viruses took payoff of the situation, becoming to a greater extent than various together with virulent together with giving ascension to many of the most problematic infectious diseases nosotros know today.  These novel infectious threats were extremely debilitating together with deadly for early on adopters of agriculture inwards Eurasia, only every bit they were for unexposed populations when Europeans reached the Americas.  However, the potent selective pressures they exerted on the ancestors of modern Eurasians gave ascension to a seat out of protective genetic adaptations, the traces of which are highly visible inwards our modern genomes. 

Otzi's wellness is clearly non something to aspire to.  In some ways, it's instance of contemporary hunter-gatherers together with non-industrial agriculturalists: his leanness together with likely lack of metabolic disorders such every bit diabetes, every bit good every bit the presence of intestinal parasites together with other infectious diseases.  In other ways, some of the findings are surprising: his cardiovascular affliction together with gallstones, which are considered "diseases of affluence" today.

I mean value nosotros receive got to accept the cardiovascular affliction alongside a grain of salt.  Modern-day non-industrial agriculturalists typically receive got depression levels of atherosclerosis (a thickening together with degeneration of the vascular wall) compared alongside affluent nations, fifty-fifty if the diet is grain-heavy, although they are non costless from atherosclerosis (7).  No i knows how much atherosclerosis hunter-gatherers have, because no i has e'er done cardiac autopsies to my knowledge.  But nosotros produce know they receive got depression blood pressure, depression circulating lipids, together with high physical fitness, which argues against the presence of serious vascular disease.  Otzi was exposed to high levels of copper together with arsenic from smelting, particulate affair from smoke, together with Lyme disease.  He also had a genetic predisposition to cardiovascular disease, which I'll hash out later.  It's likely that at to the lowest degree some of these factors contributed to his cardiovascular disease, together with inwards improver it's difficult to know how instance he was of his culture.

The other thing to operate on inwards hear is that having atherosclerosis doesn't necessarily hateful a somebody volition receive got a pump attack.  There are other of import components of risk, including the vogue of the blood to clot, the vogue of the pump to come inwards fibrillation (irregular contraction that tin last fatal), blood vessel diameter, together with the stability of plaque inwards the artery wall.  These may explicate why some non-industrial populations receive got a much lower pump assail jeopardy than would last predicted from their flat of vascular affliction (8).  The dot is that only because Otzi had signs of advanced atherosclerosis, does non necessarily hateful he was nigh to receive got a pump attack.

In the adjacent post, I'll delve into Otzi's genome, together with the insights it contains into the development together with wellness of modern Europeans.



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