National Geographic Education Blog

Iceman’s Gut Holds Clues to Human Migration

A life-size model of the Iceman.


Otzi the Iceman, a frozen mummy from the Italian Alps, may have died with a wicked stomach ache—which helps date migration waves from Africa and Asia. (Nat Geo News)

Use our resources to learn more about Otzi.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources, including a link to today’s simple MapMaker Interactive map.

This rugged Italian gentleman is Otzi, the Alpine caveman frozen in time. (Actually, it’s a reconstruction of Otzi. He really looks like this.) Upon his discovery in 1991, he was quickly nicknamed the “Iceman,” and has since become “one of science’s most carefully studied cadavers.”
Photograph by Robert Clark, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

Scientists carefully perform an autopsy of Otzi’s preserved body. His stomach, filled with an “earth-like mash,” was also full of a nasty strain of H. pylori bacteria.
Photograph by Robert Clark, National Geographic







Nat Geo: Iceman’s Gut Holds Clues to Humans’ Spread into Europe

Nat Geo: ‘Otzi the Iceman’ Discovered

Nat Geo: Where was Otzi the Iceman Unearthed? MapMaker Interactive map

Nature: Distribution of Helicobater pylori genotypes map

South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology: Ötzi – the Iceman

(extra credit!) Science: The 5300-year-old Helicobacter pylori genome of the Iceman