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Nicotine found in hair of Chilean mummies

Nicotine has been found in the hair of Chilean mummies dating back between 100 B.C. to 1450 A.D.

Additionally, nicotine consumption occurred on a society-wide basis, irrespective of social status and wealth, researchers say.

The finding refutes the popular view that the group living in this region smoked tobacco for just a short stint before moving on to snuffing hallucinogens.

“The idea was that around A.D. 400, people in San Pedro de Atacama (SPA) smoked tobacco in pipes, and then after that time, they gradually switched to inhaling dimethyltryptamines in snuffing trays,” said study co-author Hermann Niemeyer, an organic chemist at the University of Chile in Santiago. “What we show is that’s not correct.”

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Story: Joseph Castro, LiveScience | Photo: Hermann M. Niemeyer

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