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Nicotine found in mummies' hair

Published On: Jul 01 2013 09:50:51 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 01 2013 08:48:52 AM CDT
smoking cigarette with ash

Zsuzsanna Kilian/SXC

Ancient Chileans should have just said no to smoking.
A team studying naturally-preserved mummies in the Chilean town of San Pedro de Atacama discovered an ancient nicotine habit when they found traces of nicotine in the hair of mummies, according to LiveScience.
The mummies that were tested spanned from 100 BC to 1450 AD, meaning the previous theory that ancient Chileans smoked for a short period of time before giving up tobacco in favor of snuffing hallucinogens isn't correct, scientist Hermann Niemeyer told LiveScience.
"The finding of nicotine was definitely unexpected," Niemeyer told LiveScience.
Nicotine was found in the hair of 35 mummies, and the findings suggest nicotine use was widespread, not limited to a particular social class, according to LiveScience.