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


Maixner F, Turaev D, Cazenave-Gassiot A, Janko M, Krause-Kyora B, Hoopmann MR, Kusebauch U, Sartain M, Guerriero G, O’Sullivan N, Teasdale M, Cipollini G, Paladin A, Mattiangeli V, Samadelli M, Tecchiati U, Putzer A, Palazoglu M, Meissen J, Lösch S, Rausch P, Baines JF, Kim JK, An HJ, Gostner P, Egarter-Vigl E, Malfertheiner P, Keller A, Stark RW, Wenk M, Bishop D, Bradley DG, Fiehn O, Engstrand L, Moritz RL, Doble P, Franke A, Nebel A, Oeggl K, Rattei T, Grimm R, Zink A

Year of publication:







Journal (long):

Current Biology

Journal (short):

Curr. Biol.

Impact factor:



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.

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