Ötzi the Iceman’s Final Hours

Ötzi the Iceman's Final Hours

It was previously thought that Ötzi the iceman’s last hours consisted of him being caught and killed after a grueling chase, but new evidence suggests that he sat down for a meal an hour or so before his death. You might remember that Ötzi’s body was found in 1991 inside a glacier near the border between Italy and Austria. The ice had mummified him, preserving his body for researchers to find some 5,000 years later.

A previous study of Ötzi’s stomach found that it was nearly empty, so they had thought that the iceman spent his final hours running on an empty stomach before meeting his death. Albert Zink of the Institute for Mummies had another look and found that the empty “stomach” was actually a section of the iceman’s colon. The stomach was unexpectedly pushed under the iceman’s ribs.

After looking at the stomach contents they found a lot of partially digested ibex meat. So it looks like he had a nice relaxed meal shortly before his death, otherwise the stomach would be empty. 30 to 60 minutes later he was shot from behind with an arrow.

In fact, the evidence is that he ate quite well, because he also had three gallstones, which suggests a diet rich in animal fat.

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