Ötzi the Iceman could have used a dentist. The amazingly preserved Neolithic mummy found in the Italian Alps had tooth decay, gum disease and dental trauma, new research suggests.
The new findings, published Tuesday (April 9) in the European Journal of Oral Sciences, suggest that the Iceman mummy’s grain-heavy diet took a toll on his dental health.
"It’s surprising how bad condition he is in," said study co-author Frank Ruhli, a paleopathologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. "We have the whole range of disease pathologies you can imagine."
Ötzi is probably the most-studied Neolithic man in history. More than 5,000 years ago, the ancient iceman was hit by an arrow and bled to death on a glacier in the Alps between modern-day Austria and Italy. The glacier preserved his body until it was discovered by hikers in 1991. Read more.