Image of the Day: Fat Friendly

The oldest-known ice mummy consumed high amounts of fat.

Jul 13, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra
Adipose tissue
(C)Institute for Mummy Studies\Eurac Research\Frank Maixner

Researchers have discovered that the oldest ice mummy, called Otzi, had a fatty last supper, according to research published in Current Biology yesterday (July 12).

“By using a complementary multi-omics approach combined with microscopy, we reconstructed the Iceman's last meal, showing that he has had a remarkably high proportion of fat in his diet, supplemented with wild meat from ibex and red deer, cereals from einkorn, and with traces of toxic bracken,” Frank Maixner at the Eurac Research Institute for Mummy Studies in Italy, says in a statement.

Stomach content sampling 
(C)Southtyrolarchaeologymuseum\EURAC\M.samadelli

Maixner’s group found that about half the contents of the Iceman's stomach was fatty adipose tissue. According to the team, the high-fat diet seems appropriate given the snowy Alps where Otzi lived more than 5,000 years ago.  

F. Maixner et al., “The Iceman's last meal consisted of fat, wild meat, and cereals,” Curr Biol, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.05.067, 2018.