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gertvegan
Oct 19th, 2004, 03:38 PM
Iceman discoverer meets a chilling death

By Kate Connolly in Berlin 19/10/2004 www.telegraph.co.uk (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/10/19/wice19.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/10/19/ixworld.html)

The German man who discovered the frozen corpse of a prehistoric iceman in the Alps 13 years ago is thought to have suffered a similar fate to his famous find after he disappeared in the same mountain range at the weekend.

Helmut Simon, 67, failed to return from a climb on the 7,000ft Gamskarkogel in the Austrian Alps on Friday evening.

The retired caretaker from Nuremberg stumbled across Otzi the iceman during a mountain hike in the Tyrolean Otz Valley with his wife Erika in September 1991.

Their discovery of the 5,300-year-old mummified hunter was hailed as one of the most extraordinary Neolithic finds ever. Otzi, the world's oldest iceman, now attracts around 300,000 visitors a year to the museum that houses him in Bozen, Italy.

Yesterday German and Austrian newspapers were speculating whether Mr Simon had fallen foul of the "Otzi curse", suggesting that his likely death was punishment for having disturbed the resting place where the iceman had lain in a deep, frozen slumber for thousands of years.

A 100-strong team of rescue workers and dogs who had searched for him throughout the weekend called an end to their operation yesterday.

"We've yet to find a trace of him," said Gerald Lehner, spokesman for the Austrian mountain rescue service.

Finding Otzi brought Mr Simon and his wife little happiness. Even after lengthy and costly court battles they have yet to be financially rewarded for finding the iceman, who makes a considerable amount of money for the south Tyrol tourism industry. It took the couple until 2003 to be legally recognised as the finders of Otzi - a year to the day before Mr Simon disappeared.

Mr Simon once complained that he had been shown such little respect that he and his wife even had to pay to visit the Otzi museum.

News of Otzi's discovery, less than 100 yards from the border between Italy and Austria, set off a bitter dispute between the two countries, each of which argued that the iceman had been found on their soil. Italy eventually won the legal battle.

Research on Otzi has revealed much information about Neolithic man. Analysis of his hair revealed he was most likely a vegan. Otzi is thought to have died aged 45 after being hit by an arrowhead while being pursued by his enemies, some of whose blood was found on his clothes.

Pilaf
Jun 26th, 2005, 11:01 AM
I never knew good old Otzi was vegan. I should have suspected as much from some of the documentaries I've seen. Only plant matter was found in his stomach, and he was carrying what appeared to be a plant fiber purse full of herbs and mushrooms.

John
Jun 27th, 2005, 02:34 AM
That's quite sad what happened to both those men. Otzi was a vegan hunter?

Kurmudgeon
Jun 27th, 2005, 03:06 PM
Analysis of his hair revealed he was most likely a vegan.

Do they mean consumed a vegan diet? He could have worn animal skin/fur and used bones (ie; not vegan), yet that wouldn't be revealed in hair analysis.

Realfood Mary
Jun 27th, 2005, 04:18 PM
Otzi might have been a shaman, or a soldier. He was carrying weapons, but these would have been in self defense. Shame it didn't work for him...

Realfood Mary
Jun 27th, 2005, 04:26 PM
Bad news folks. Otzi may have been a vegan for most of his life, but according to the science his last meal was meat. If you do a google search for Otzi, vegan the following comes up.

"In the recent past, the reconstruction of the diet of the prehistoric hunter/warrior was the object of some controversy. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis performed on the Iceman's hair led Macko and colleagues (19) to conclude that the man was a vegetarian, or even a vegan. This conclusion was rejected by Dickson and colleagues (4) on the basis of two kinds of evidence: (i) paleobotanical analyses showing the presence of unidentified muscle fibers in the food residue from the Iceman's colon together with a prevailing proportion of plant fragments (mainly cereals of the wheat and wheat-rye type); and (ii) reinterpretation of the Macko and colleagues stable isotope analysis showing that the data were indicative of an omnivorous rather than a vegetarian diet.

Of the utmost interest, therefore, are the results of the DNA analysis of the animal component of the intestinal content, although they are obviously indicative only of the composition of the last meals and not of the diet. In the course of the first archaeological exploration of the Iceman site, two small bone splinters were discovered at the base of the rock shelf, in addition to the other remains. Anatomical and zoological investigations performed by von den Driesch and Peters (23) led them to conclude that the pieces were lateral apophyses of a fourth and a fifth cervical vertebra of a male Alpine ibex (C. ibex). This discovery gave rise to the hypothesis that this meat had represented the Iceman's ultimate food reserve. Such a hypothesis has resisted unchallenged for many years (1-4). We are now able to demonstrate that although the use of ibex meat is confirmed by the result of the analyses of the colon content, the last meal of the Tyrolean Iceman was actually composed of red deer meat. The use of red deer meat as a food supply is perfectly consistent with the paleozoological identification of the materials used by the iceman to manufacture his equipment: domestic goat and red deer in the leggings and the punch of a retoucher (an implement used to sharpen the edge of stone tools), a long curved spike, and a bundle of four points were all made from red deer antler (1, 2). According to some authors (24, 25), the deforestation in European Mesolithic was mainly aimed at favoring the growth of red deer herds, which were maintained in a state of semidomestication by means of selective hunting. The strict connection between Neolithic man and red deer is witnessed by the wealth of artistic representation of this animal among the archaeological finds in the central and eastern Alps; the polished and carved stones of the Val Camonica, in particular, evidence how the red deer was central to the interests of the prehistoric populations along the Alpine arc (26)."

Vegantastic
Jun 27th, 2005, 06:35 PM
Maybe it had eaten meat to survive, because it was winter or something?

Realfood Mary
Jun 27th, 2005, 08:29 PM
I think that is what the scientists decided, that the meat was food of "last resort." He was above the snow line, being chased by enemies, and in "dire straits." Shame though - even though it proves that meat was a minimal part of the Neolithic diet there will always be that doubt.

Cryospark
Jun 28th, 2005, 03:09 AM
Whatever was found in the guys colon who knows how long it could have been there, I'm pretty sure he hasnt had a colonic up till now. If there was no vegetation he would be forced to eat meat, he may well be a hunter primarily for the skin of animals, he would not have the luxury of cotton fields or anything of the like now would he. I'd claim the guy as a vegan.

John
Jun 28th, 2005, 10:55 PM
Vegans don't use animal skins.

Cryospark
Jun 29th, 2005, 12:46 AM
Here I'll drop you off in a freezing arctic-like region with no clothes and no food. Don't be foolish. When there is nothing else available survival is what matters, if you would choose to die for your principals in that matter, I doubt you would, and if you did it's shockingly moronic not impressive.

John
Jun 29th, 2005, 02:17 AM
I think you missed the point.

Cryospark
Jun 29th, 2005, 02:26 AM
No I didn't miss the point because it's not valid. Ours is a different time we have a choice he didn't.

ConsciousCuisine
Jun 29th, 2005, 04:40 AM
Ours is a different time we have a choice he didn't.

True. That still doesn't make him vegan :)

Seaside
Jun 29th, 2005, 07:22 AM
Maybe it had eaten meat to survive, because it was winter or something?
"It"?

Kam
Aug 14th, 2005, 08:13 PM
The title of this thread relates to the iceman's diet, as such I think it is ok not to get wrapped up in the semantics of what is a full vegan as opposed to a dietary one. It does look quite possible that they did eat meat but only when there was nothing else available. I guess they only killed when they absolutely had to in order to live, and when they did, they used everything - fur to keep warm, and meat to eat. It wasn't an evil meat industry back then, which is the main problem I have with today's meat. oh and it's pumped full of chemicals. That and it's just not necessary to thrive. I do think I'd do the same if I was stuck in a freezing world of snow back in those days, but only as a last resort to survive. Therefore, maybe he was vegan 'as far as possible'!

Gliondrach
Aug 16th, 2005, 12:33 AM
I doubt that they had much time for animal welfare in those days. I believe they would have been hunter-gatherers. Look at the present-day herders and hunter-gatherers, and we can get some idea of how these people may have lived. The availability of food would have been very restricted, lacking in many of the things that we take for granted that grow in tropical parts of the world.

If they were good hunters, they would have killed quickly, if for no other reason than to stop the animal getting away or attacking them. Still very cruel. A modern hunter-gatherer, Ray Mears, is often shown on telly cooking shellfish alive on a hot rock or catching fish and leaving them to suffocate on the riverbank. People like that seem to give no thought to the suffering of the other animals.

rantipole
Aug 17th, 2005, 05:59 AM
If he was a shaman as some think he was, it is possible he ate a vegan diet when the rest of his tribe or village did not. There are other cultures in which the priests and shaman eat a different diet than the populace at large.

I guess my point is that it's hard to make claims about the diet of a whole group of people based on one individual's body. What would future people think of the American diet if they found one of us frozen in ice?

Cheers,
rant

Kam
Aug 23rd, 2005, 12:13 PM
If he was a shaman as some think he was, it is possible he ate a vegan diet when the rest of his tribe or village did not. There are other cultures in which the priests and shaman eat a different diet than the populace at large.

I guess my point is that it's hard to make claims about the diet of a whole group of people based on one individual's body. What would future people think of the American diet if they found one of us frozen in ice?

Cheers,
rantVery good point. I would love to know for sure, this kind of stuff is fascinating to me.