Iceman Suffered From Clogged Arteries

Humans suffered from clogged arteries before junk food, cigarettes, and sitting on a couch all day

Reconstruction of Ötzi

Scientists have been working on analyzing a 5,300-year-old mummy, found in 1991 in Italy’s Ötztal Alps, and surprise surprise, they've discovered that the iceman had clogged arteries.

The mummy, known as Ötzi, was apparently lactose intolerant, dealt with parasites and cavities, and was at risk for arteriosclerosis (although a head injury killed him).

The lactose intolerance isn't surprising (humans were just beginning to domesticate animals and eat dairy products when he was alive), but Ötzi's clogged arteries were surprising to researchers.

"[Arterioscelrosis] is typically thought to be a modern, so-called 'civilization disease,'" project leader Albert Zink wrote. "With Ötzi we now know that the mutations already occurred more than 5,000 years ago."

Since coronary heart disease seems to predate potato chips and couch potatoes, heart health may be based more on genetics than diet, making heart disease more difficult to prevent. Bad news all around, we fear.