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Curr Biol. 2018 Jul 23;28(14):2348-2355.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.05.067. Epub 2018 Jul 12.

The Iceman's Last Meal Consisted of Fat, Wild Meat, and Cereals.

Author information

1
Eurac Research - Institute for Mummy Studies, Viale Druso 1, 39100 Bolzano, Italy. Electronic address: frank.maixner@eurac.edu.
2
CUBE - Division of Computational Systems Biology, Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria.
3
SLING, Life Sciences Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore; Department of Biochemistry, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
4
Institute of Materials Science, Physics of Surfaces, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Alarich-Weiss-Str. 2, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany; Center of Smart Interfaces, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Alarich-Weiss-Str. 10, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany.
5
Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Kiel University, Rosalind-Franklin-Str. 12, 24105 Kiel, Germany.
6
Institute for Systems Biology, 401 Terry Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.
7
Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN), Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), Esch/Alzette, Luxembourg.
8
Eurac Research - Institute for Mummy Studies, Viale Druso 1, 39100 Bolzano, Italy.
9
Smurfit Institute of Genetics, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.
10
Responsabile del Laboratorio di Archeozoologia della Soprintendenza Provinciale ai Beni culturali di Bolzano - Alto Adige, Ufficio Beni archeologica, 39100 Bolzano, Italy.
11
South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Museumstrasse 43, 39100 Bolzano, Italy.
12
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology & Genome Center, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA.
13
Department of Physical Anthropology, Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Bern, Sulgenauweg 40, 3007 Bern, Switzerland.
14
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, August-Thienemann-Strasse 2, D-24306, Plön, Germany.
15
Cancer Research Institute & Graduate School of Analytical Science and Technology, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea.
16
Department of Radiodiagnostics, Central Hospital Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy.
17
Scuola Superiore Sanitaria Provinciale "Claudiana," Via Lorenz Böhler 13, 39100 Bolzano, Italy.
18
Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Infectious Diseases, Otto-von-Guericke University, Leipziger Strasse 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany.
19
Chair for Clinical Bioinformatics, Saarland University, Medical Faculty, Saarbrücken, Germany.
20
Elemental Bio-imaging Facility, University of Technology Sydney, Broadway, New South Wales, 2007, Australia.
21
Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, 141 83 Stockholm, Sweden.
22
Institute of Botany, Sternwartestrasse 15, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.
23
Agilent Technologies, 5301 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95051, USA.
24
Eurac Research - Institute for Mummy Studies, Viale Druso 1, 39100 Bolzano, Italy. Electronic address: albert.zink@eurac.edu.

Abstract

The history of humankind is marked by the constant adoption of new dietary habits affecting human physiology, metabolism, and even the development of nutrition-related disorders. Despite clear archaeological evidence for the shift from hunter-gatherer lifestyle to agriculture in Neolithic Europe [1], very little information exists on the daily dietary habits of our ancestors. By undertaking a complementary -omics approach combined with microscopy, we analyzed the stomach content of the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old European glacier mummy [2, 3]. He seems to have had a remarkably high proportion of fat in his diet, supplemented with fresh or dried wild meat, cereals, and traces of toxic bracken. Our multipronged approach provides unprecedented analytical depth, deciphering the nutritional habit, meal composition, and food-processing methods of this Copper Age individual.

KEYWORDS:

European Copper Age mummy; Iceman; ancient DNA; diet; last meal; lipidomics; microscopy; multi-omics study; proteomics; stomach content

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