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The Iceman's Last Meal 116

sciencehabit writes "Less than two hours before he hiked his last steps in the Tyrolean Alps 5000 years ago, Ötzi the Iceman fueled up on a last meal of ibex meat, according to a new study. Armed with Ötzi's newly sequenced genome and a detailed dental analysis, scientists have also found that the Iceman had brown eyes (not blue, as commonly assumed) and probably wasn't much of a tooth brusher. Dental analysis shows that the Iceman suffered a blunt force trauma to two teeth — possibly a blow to the mouth — at least several days before his death and was plagued by both periodontal disease and cavities."
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The Iceman's Last Meal

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  • by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Monday June 20, 2011 @08:16PM (#36507694)

    My dentist is a beekeeper and sells honey at his office. He says that honey is naturally anti-bacterial and doesn't cause tooth decay because it's the acid generated by bacteria that damages tooth enamel.

    Easy enough to test: eat a mouthful of honey, and then take an oral swab. Test it for bacteria.

    The reason that honey is anti-bacterial is simple osmotic pressure: the sugar concentration is so high that bacteria get dehydrated. Pure sugar works exactly the same way. Dilution, no shock, cancels out the effect.

    However, a dentist selling honey as a tooth preservative? Might be a good business plan.

  • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Monday June 20, 2011 @09:57PM (#36508400)

    I am not an anthropologist, but were there not many cultures where food was chewed for elder people that lacked the teeth to do it themselves?

    Probably remember it from a documentary or some movies, but I would love an anthropologist to chime in on this.

  • by BeaverCleaver ( 673164 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @12:16AM (#36509112)

    A lot of the life expectancy is lowered because of death at child birth (both children and women) and also in the fragile toddler years. There were people who regularly lived to 40s/50s/60s.

    Thank you. Really, thank you. That statistic gets thrown around all the time, and as you point out, it's bullshit. Life expectancy was lower because lots of babies and children died. Polio, Measles, smallpox, malnutrition....childbirth [as you stated], whatever.

    Just because life expectancy was in the order of 30 years, absolutely does not mean that there was ever a time in human history that healthy 30 year olds were just spontaneously dropping dead.

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