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Incredibly well-preserved poo shows beer has always been popular

Incredibly well-preserved poo shows beer has always been popular

We're far from the first humans to need a nice beer after a long day

It's the weekend! You deserve a bit of time to kick back and relax, so grab a drink, take a seat, and get ready to learn all about how an old sh*t helped show that humans have loved beer for millennia.

Nowadays, there is more beer out there than we know what to do with. Canned, bottled or on tap, you can get every variety under the sun, and you probably don't think too much about it once that chilled glass touches your lips.

This guy loves a beer.
Pixabay

Maybe you should, though, because as it turns out, evidence of that beer can stick around not just until the next morning, but for thousands of years.

Proof of this slightly unnerving concept comes from a discovery found in Iron Age salt mines known as the Hallstatt salt mines, located in a World Heritage site in Austria.

There, researchers were able to collect several sh*t samples - and I mean literal samples of poo; I'm not dissing the quality of their collection.

The condition of the mines, which maintain a mild temperature and have high concentrations of salt, proved to be ideal for preserving the poo which is believed to be around 2,700 years old, and allowed researchers some interesting insights into the Iron Age people it belonged to.

The ancient poo was found in Austria.
Anwora - Museum of Natural History Vienna

In the study, published in the journal Current Biology, the researchers found the presence of fungi used in food fermentation - specifically the fungi DNA of 'Penicillium roqueforti' and 'Saccharomyces cerevisiae'.

On the off chance you don't know what that means, it indicates that the miners were enjoying a - admittedly unusual - diet of blue cheese and beer.

Penicillium roqueforti is known to be used in the creation of blue cheese, while Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a yeast used to ferment alcohol.

As they also discovered several grains, the researchers were able to hypothesise that the miners had been enjoying some beer.

Frank Maixner, an author on the study, explained: “Genome-wide analysis indicates that both fungi were involved in food fermentation and provide the first molecular evidence for blue cheese and beer consumption during Iron Age Europe.

“The Hallstatt miners seem to have intentionally applied food fermentation technologies with microorganisms which are still nowadays used in the food industry.”

This is far from the only example of researchers using poo to find out more about ancient life, as they were also able to do that with the largest poo ever recorded, which is more than 1,000 years old.

It’s thought to have been the work of a Viking, and offered some insights to the diet of the owner thanks to its ‘moist and peaty’ makeup.

I think I need a beer myself, after that.

Featured Image Credit: Anwora -Museum of Natural History Vienna/Shutterstock

Topics: Science, World News, Health