HEADLINES Published January13, 2016 By Beatrice Asuncion

Ancient Iceman Sheds light on Prehistoric Migration Patterns

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Archeology has been a formalized branch science for centuries. In fact, The first excavations for scientific purpose were done at the tail-end of the 19th century on the famous English ancient site, the Stonehenge. While archaeologists have made significant discoveries over the past century, there are still more prehistoric mysteries waiting to be unraveled.

Just a week ago, new information regarding a 5,300 year old mummified corpse nicknamed "Otzi the Iceman" discovered in Italy was uncovered and published in the journal Science. The mummy was discovered by German tourists 25 years ago and over the course of two decades studies on the artifact has revealed intimate details about the specimen's life.

Recently, researchers from the EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman have analyzed the stomach content of Otzi and have discovered the presence of a common strain of H. Pylori virus. The H. Pylori virus is carried by half of today's population however the type found in the mummy is an unmixed strain that has never been observed before.

"He carried a more pure strain, an unmixed strain yet and we can say that the history of Helicobacter population genetics in Europe is different from previously thought" explained Albert Zink, the head of EURAC.

Furthermore, the virus is so common and so ancient that it is possible to be able to study human migration patterns using different strains of H. Pylori. Regions spread across the world carry a different strain of the H.Pylori.

Initially, it was theorized that Europeans have a mixed strain of the H. Pylori from Eurasia and Africa. The hybrid was created when humans left their home continents 50,000 years ago. However, the pure strain of H. Pylori discovered in Otzi the Iceman disproved initial assumptions since his strain is a more purer form akin to the Eurasian virus. 

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