Publications by authors named "Stefania Zingale"

2 Publications

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Hallstatt miners consumed blue cheese and beer during the Iron Age and retained a non-Westernized gut microbiome until the Baroque period.

Curr Biol 2021 Dec 13;31(23):5149-5162.e6. Epub 2021 Oct 13.

Prehistoric Department, Museum of Natural History Vienna, Burgring 7, 1010 Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:

We subjected human paleofeces dating from the Bronze Age to the Baroque period (18 century AD) to in-depth microscopic, metagenomic, and proteomic analyses. The paleofeces were preserved in the underground salt mines of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hallstatt in Austria. This allowed us to reconstruct the diet of the former population and gain insights into their ancient gut microbiome composition. Our dietary survey identified bran and glumes of different cereals as some of the most prevalent plant fragments. This highly fibrous, carbohydrate-rich diet was supplemented with proteins from broad beans and occasionally with fruits, nuts, or animal food products. Due to these traditional dietary habits, all ancient miners up to the Baroque period have gut microbiome structures akin to modern non-Westernized individuals whose diets are also mainly composed of unprocessed foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. This may indicate a shift in the gut community composition of modern Westernized populations due to quite recent dietary and lifestyle changes. When we extended our microbial survey to fungi present in the paleofeces, in one of the Iron Age samples, we observed a high abundance of Penicillium roqueforti and Saccharomyces cerevisiae DNA. Genome-wide analysis indicates that both fungi were involved in food fermentation and provides the first molecular evidence for blue cheese and beer consumption in Iron Age Europe.
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December 2021

Are natural scientists more masculine than humanists? The association patterns between 2D:4D ratio and field of study.

Anthropol Anz 2018 08;75(3):193-200

Department of Anthropology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.

Abstract: Natural sciences are still considered as typical male fields, while humanities are interpreted as typical female topics. Economic, social but also biological factors are discussed to influence the choice of study field. In the present study, the impact of prenatal sex hormone exposure - estimated by 2D:4D ratio - on the choice of study field was analyzed. Two hundred Viennese students between the ages 18 and 28 years were enrolled. Lengths of the index finger and the ring finger were measured directly from the hand of the participants. 2D:4D ratios were calculated. Male and female students differed significantly in 2D:4D ratio. As expected, female students showed significantly higher 2D:4D ratios than their male counterparts ( < 0.001). Male scientists and male humanists differed significantly in 2D:4D ratio. The 2D:4D of male humanists was significantly higher than that of scientists ( = 0.037). Female scientists and female humanists however, did not differ significantly in 2D:4D ratio. Both showed a typical female 2D:4D ratio. This was also true of male humanists. Consequently low prenatal androgen exposure may be associated with the choice of humanities among male students.
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August 2018