The gut microbes of the Ötzi the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old mummy found frozen in a European glacier in 1991, have shed new light on the history of human migration, scientists said on Thursday.
Researchers thawed the remains of Ötzi, who was killed by an arrow when he was between 40 and 50 years old and hiking across the Ötztal Alps, which straddle modern-day Italy and Austria.
When they tested the contents of his stomach, they found a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, an age-old pathogen that has evolved into different strains according to the region of the world in which it is found.
“Surprisingly, a strain of bacterium in his gut shares ancestry with an Asian strain,” said the study in the US journal Science. “In contrast to the fact that most modern Europeans harbor a strain ancestral to north African strains.”
If the stomach contents of the Iceman is a good reflection of Europeans 5,300 years ago, the analysis suggests that African migration had not yet resulted in intermingling with the Asian strain of the bacterium.
Pour lire la suite : http://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jan/08/otzi-the-icemans-5000-year-old-stomach-bug-sheds-light-on-human-migration