Wednesday, May 13, 2015

5,300-Year-Old Otzi the Iceman Yields Oldest Known Human Blood


Researchers have found blood cells in the famous 5,300-year-old mummy found by hikers in the Austrian Alps years ago. A detailed analysis of his remains has also revealed that he would have  died a quick death from his wounds. Ötzi the Iceman’s blood is the oldest known to science.

Ötzi was a victim of homicide. Researchers say he suffered a quick, violent death that was over quickly but may not have been painless, National Geographic reports. He had an arrow wound, but his death probably came from a blow to the back of his head.

A reconstruction of what Ötzi may have looked like (Thilo Parg/Wikimedia Commons)

No blood cells had been found in Ötzi since his discovery by German hikers in 1991 until recently. "There were no [blood] traces found, even when they opened some arteries, so it was thought maybe the blood had not preserved and had completely degraded, or that he lost too much blood because of the arrow injury" on his back, Albert Zink, head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy, told National Geographic. Zink is a member of the team doing research on Ötzi’s corpse.

However, using a nano-size probe, researchers spotted the distinctive doughnut shape of red-blood cells near the arrow wound and a cut on his right hand. They recorded the movements of the probe with a laser to get a three-dimensional image of the cells. The researchers also shone lasers on the wounds to reveal the molecular makeup of the substance to confirm it was indeed blood.

For the rest of the story: http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/5300-year-old-otzi-iceman-yields-oldest-known-human-blood-003018

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