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Otzi The 'Iceman'


Android Futureman
Aug 7, 2002
from Yahoo

'Iceman' was murdered, science sleuths say
By Tim Friend, USA TODAY

The 5,300-year-old "Iceman" discovered in 1991 in the Italian Alps was killed by one or more assailants in a fight that lasted at least two days, shows evidence obtained by sophisticated DNA testing and old-fashioned detective work.

Scientists initially presumed that the Stone Age Iceman, nicknamed Otzi, was caught in a storm and froze to death. But a new team said Monday that Otzi's case instead has become the world's oldest, and coldest, murder case.

"We've been working round the clock for the last three weeks to get these results," DNA specialist Thomas Loy of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, told USA TODAY Monday by phone from a laboratory in Bolanzo, Italy. "It was very exciting when the blood samples came back positive for human DNA from four separate individuals."

Otzi's naturally mummified body, the oldest found so far, became a worldwide sensation in 1991 after two Austrian mountain climbers saw it in a thawing glacier at 10,500 feet on the Hauslabjoch Alpine pass at the Italian/Austria border. Nearby artifacts included a copper blade ax, a bearskin cap, shoes of bearskin and woven grass, a quiver of arrows, and a knife

In 2001, an Italian radiologist found an arrowhead embedded in Otzi's shoulder. Otzi had been hit from behind and managed to pull out only the shaft. That discovery led Eduard Egarter, Bolanzo's chief medical examiner and curator of Otzi's body, to look for more evidence of a fight.

Alois Pirpamer, one of the climbers who found Otzi, told Egarter that the Iceman had been clutching a knife in his right hand at the time of the discovery. The knife came loose when the body was pulled from the ice. Pirpamer says he told the Austrian scientists that Otzi was holding the knife, but was ignored.

Egarter matched the knife to the hand and found a deep gash on the hand that had been missed in previous studies. He then found another cut on the left hand and bruises on the torso, as if Otzi had been beaten. Documentary filmmaker Brando Quilici, who was making a second film for the Discovery Channel on the Iceman, suggested bringing in Loy to look for microscopic blood samples that might belong to the attackers. Blood from one person was found on the back of Otzi's cloak, and blood from two people was found on the same arrow in his quiver. More blood was on the knife.

Quilici says the team suspects blood on the back of the cloak may have come from a wounded colleague that Otzi was carrying over his shoulder. Loy says blood of two people was found on the same arrow, suggesting Otzi killed both men and retrieved the arrow.

With Europe gripped in a heat wave, Quilici says ice at the Alpine pass is melting fast. The team will look for more bodies there on Aug. 28. A one-hour documentary about the new findings, Iceman: Hunt for a Killer, airs at 9 p.m. Aug. 24 on the Discovery Channel.
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Wow! A story that only gets more and more fascinating as time goes on. Gonna have to see that program.
It was the second man, with the bow and arrow, on the icy knoll.

Fred Flintstone was a patsy, he couldn't hit a mammoth three feet in front of him with a big stick.

Sounds like an interesting programme.
Definitely looking forward to that program, anyone care to speculate on what the fight might have been about, maybe he was carrying treasure of some kind, or perhaps it was something as mundane as a fight over food.
It doesn't sound like a murder to me. It sounds like a war. Think about it - Otzi shoots at least two different men and, since he retrieved the arrow, presumably killes them.

He's crossing the alps, probably in winter, while carrying a wounded friend. Their enemies catch up with them an Otzi is forced to defend himself with the knife, successfully wounding at least one assailant.

I wouldn't be surprised if more bodies turn up. It sounds to me like a routed army retreating accross the mountains and being harried.

(William of Occam would be spining in his grave)
Cujo said:
It doesn't sound like a murder to me. It sounds like a war. Think about it - Otzi shoots at least two different men and, since he retrieved the arrow, presumably killes them.

He's crossing the alps, probably in winter, while carrying a wounded friend. Their enemies catch up with them an Otzi is forced to defend himself with the knife, successfully wounding at least one assailant.

There was an item on the news last night that said pretty much the same thing, that it was some sort of skirmish between hunting parties from rival tribes (or that Otzi and friend(s) wandered into someone else's territory).

Just found this on BBCi which is the news item I heard:

It all sounds fascinating and an amazing insight into how far forensic science and DNA typing has come.
Anyone recall the woman who claimed the ice man was actually her father , lost several years ago on a ski-ing trip?Or the news item that claimed several woman had contacted the science team responsible for the ice-man because they hoped frozen samples of ...you know....could be used to inseminate them so they could bear a child by him..am I the only one that recalls that gruesome story..please tell me no..
karenlilly said:
Or the news item that claimed several woman had contacted the science team responsible for the ice-man because they hoped frozen samples of ...you know....could be used to inseminate them so they could bear a child by him..am I the only one that recalls that gruesome story..please tell me no..

So are you telling us the Iceman cometh?

the coat and the headscarf right there, please
Iceman Didn't Get Too Far

Iceman Found in Italy Didn't Wander Far
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The mysterious 5,200-year-old iceman found in an Alpine glacier was born in a valley in what is now northern Italy and didn't travel far from home, an international team of researchers has concluded.

Indeed, the iceman, known as Oetzi, probably spent his whole life within about 37 miles of the spot near the Italy-Austria border where he was found frozen, according to the team led by Wolfgang Mueller of the Australian National University in Canberra.

Their findings are being reported Friday in the journal Science.

A group of hikers discovered Oetzi's well-preserved body in 1991; since then, he and his clothing and tools have opened a window on the previously little known world of copper-age Europe. Oetzi is currently housed at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy.

Mueller's team, which also includes researchers from the United States and Switzerland, studied the forms of different elements in Oetzi's teeth, bones and intestines and compared them with the types found in water and soil in the region.

Elements such as oxygen and argon are found in different forms, called isotopes, and by comparing the ratio of one isotope to another in body tissue scientists can determine the source of the food or water the person has been consuming. The researchers also looked at the isotopes of strontium and lead in Oetzi.

The findings for tooth enamel can show what a person had been eating and drinking as a child, while bone provides a a similar measure for adults. In addition, the intestines give an indication of activities during a person's final days.

Water in the area where Oetzi was found varies in oxygen isotope ratio because rainfall to the north comes from the cooler and more distant Atlantic Ocean, while that to the south comes from the warmer and closer Mediterranean.

Analysis of Oetzi's tooth enamel indicates that between the ages of 3 and 5 he was drinking water with isotope ratios found only to the south of where he was found frozen.

However, bone analysis of the isotope level ingested as an adult shows a contribution from both northern and southern water sources, something the researchers said could indicate migration into one or more of several nearby valleys.

The isotope ratios for strontium and lead vary depending on the types of rock and soil in an area. The scientists also analyzed the argon ratio of bits of mica found in the intestine, believed to have been ingested as a result of eating stone-ground grain.

Using this data, the team was able to rule out the region south of Bolzano as home to Oetzi, saying instead that he more likely resided in the Schnals or Etsch/Adige valley near Merano or the nearby Ulten, middle Eisack or lower Puster valleys, between Bolzano and the Austrian border.

"Our data indicate that the Iceman spent his entire life in the area south of the discovery site" near the border between Italy and Austria, the team concluded.

They noted that one location, Feldthurns, near Bressanone in the Eisack valley, gives the closest match between local soils and Oetzi's tooth enamel.

Earlier studies have indicated that Oetzi was between 25 and 40 when he died, suffered from arthritis and had an arrowhead embedded in a shoulder, probably the cause of death.

Mr R.I.N.G's post added to thread started by - oh! - Mr R.I.N.G! :eek!!!!:

Come on, mate, get yer act tergither!

An unsolvable murder mystery from long ago? Get Patricia Cornwell on the case! She can decide who did it first, spend millions of dollars buying up cave paintings and then impress no-one with her half-assed theory.
Or bring on Derek Acorah to be posessed by the spirit of Oetzi, mysteriously revealing that he was, in fact, an Italian caveman with a scouse accent!

God, it's great to be a critic!
It would make quite a cool short film, don't you think? Otzi and his friend trying to escape with a bunch of other ice-chaps chasing them over the mountains...
Inverurie Jones said:
It would make quite a cool short film, don't you think? Otzi and his friend trying to escape with a bunch of other ice-chaps chasing them over the mountains...

There's already been one. Back in the eighties it was a regular show on tv. He manages to make some skis and ends up swinging from a cable car ... oh, hang on! That was an advert for chocolates!

Dah Dah ... dah dah dahhh ....!

"Oh, bugger! I forgot me business card!"
Oetzi's Revenge

Iceman discoverer missing in snow
A German hiker who in 1991 discovered the mummified remains of a prehistoric man has gone missing while walking in bad conditions in the Alps.
Helmut Simon, 67, was last seen on Friday morning setting out for a walk in Salzburg, Austria. Rescue teams have scoured the area but found no trace.

Heavy snowfall over the weekend has raised fears Mr Simon has not survived.

The iceman, "Oetzi", was found in the Oetztal valley on the Austrian-Italian border by Mr Simon and his wife Erika.

The wonderfully preserved 5,300-year-old corpse delighted scientists and is now a star attraction at the museum at Bolzano, northern Italy, where it is on display.

'Slim' chances

Search teams including dozens of rescuers and search dogs scoured the mountains in the Pongau region of Salzburg province until avalanche concerns halted the operation late Sunday.

About half a metre (18 inches) of snow fell over the weekend.

"There's a lot of snow up there," an unnamed rescuer told Reuters news agency.

"We've looked everywhere. He was hiking alone."

The rescuer said Mr Simon had no tent with him and there was no sign at the permanent hiker huts.

"You can imagine that the chances of survival outside in the snow are quite slim," said the rescuer.

Mummy drama

Mr Simon and his wife first thought they had discovered a mountaineer who had had an accident when they stumbled over Oetzi's remains.

But it turned out it was a frozen mummy which had emerged from a melting glacier.

It was first thought Oetzi had died of exposure to the cold but then it emerged that he had been murdered.

In recent years, the Simons had been embroiled in a row with the northern Italian authorities over whether they should be considered the official finders of the mummy.

They won this battle in 2003, but a new row then developed over what sum of money the finders should be paid for the discovery.
Scientist seen as latest 'victim' of Iceman


Scientist seen as latest 'victim' of Iceman

Barbara McMahon
Wednesday April 20, 2005
The Guardian

He had lain in his icy tomb on an Alpine glacier in northern Italy for 5,300 years, a perfectly preserved Stone Age warrior, complete with fur robes, leather shoes and bow and arrow.

But since being found 14 years ago, five of the people who came in close contact with Oetzi the Iceman have died, leading to the inevitable question: is the mummy cursed?

Konrad Spindler, head of the Iceman investigation team at Innsbruck University, died on Monday, apparently from complications arising from multiple sclerosis. But that has not stopped his name being linked to a string of strange deaths related to the mummy.

He had spent years studying the remains of the frozen warrior, who was discovered in the melting Similaun glacier, on the border between Italy and Austria in 1991. The 66-year-old scientist had been aware of curse theories, built around the supposition that the Iceman was angry at having been disturbed after 53 centuries, and used to joke: "The next victim could be me."

The other "victims" of the mummy include the forensic expert Dr Rainer Henn, who placed the cadaver in a body bag with his bare hands, and who died in a road accident on his way to a conference to discuss his famous subject.

The Alpine guide Kurt Fritz organised the transportation by helicopter of the mummified remains, and was killed by a snowslide in an accident in the mountains, in an area he knew well. He was the only one of a party of climbers to die.

Then there was journalist Rainer Hoelz, who filmed the recovery of the Iceman, and who died of a brain tumour.

The fourth death was that of Helmut Simon, the German tourist who spotted the Iceman in 1991 while on a walking trip with his wife. He became bitter that he was not recognised or financially compensated for his discovery.

Last October he failed to return from a mountain hike and was found dead eight days later, the victim of a 300ft fall. Local newspapers recorded that his body was found frozen, under a sheet of snow and ice.

A possible sixth victim has also been named, that of Dieter Warnecke, the man who helped find the missing 69-year-old and who died of a heart attack after attending his funeral.

Like all good curse theories, natural death, accidents and sheer bad luck have been compressed into a single sinister hypothesis and with all this doom and gloom, there is only one piece of good news. Visitors to the museum in the Italian town of Bolzano specially constructed for the Iceman, where he is on display in a hi-tech refrigerated casket chilled to a glacial -6C, are expecting an increase in curious visitors.


Next Victim of the Oetzi Curse?

BBC News Online: Death renews iceman 'curse' claim
5 November 2005

The death of a molecular biologist has fuelled renewed speculation about a "curse" connected to an ancient corpse.

Tom Loy, 63, had analysed DNA found on "Oetzi", the Stone Age hunter whose remains were discovered in 1991.

Dr Loy died in unclear circumstances in Australia two weeks ago, it has been announced, making him the seventh person connected with Oetzi to die.

Colleagues and family of Dr Loy have rejected the notion that he was the victim of a "curse".

It is not known how many people have worked on the Oetzi project - and whether the death rate is statistically high.

The amateur climber who found Oetzi in 1991, Helmut Simon, was killed during an unexpected blizzard in the Alps last year, not far from the original find.

His body was missing for eight days before it was located.

Within hours of Mr Simon's funeral, the head of the mountain rescue team sent to find him died of a heart attack, aged 45 and apparently in good health.

Four other people associated with Oetzi have died, prompting rumours of a "mummy's curse":

* Rainer Henn, 64, a forensic pathologist who handled the body. He was killed in a car crash the following year

* Kurt Fritz, the mountaineer who led Dr Henn to the body. He was killed in an avalanche shortly after Dr Henn died

* Rainer Holz, 47, a filmmaker who made a documentary about removing the body from its block of ice. He died of a brain tumour soon afterwards

* Konrad Spindler, 66, an archaeologist who was a leading expert on the body. He died of complications related to multiple sclerosis.


Dr Loy's brother Gareth said the two had never talked about a curse - and that Tom Loy had been in poor health, with a condition that caused his blood to clot.

An inquest into Dr Loy's death was inconclusive, ruling out foul play but unable to determine if he had died of natural causes, an accident, or both, Gareth Loy told The Australian newspaper.

An unnamed colleague of Dr Loy scoffed at the idea of a curse, the newspaper reported: "He didn't believe in the curse. It was just superstition. People die."
Perhaps, the iceman was a heap big, powerful mojo, shaman?

This is shaping up better than 'the Curse of Tutankhamun'! :shock:
Similar article in today's Independent:

Curse of the Oetzi the Iceman strikes again

The death of a molecular biologist, Tom Loy, is the seventh to be connected with a Stone Age cadaver found entombed in an alpine glacier in 1991.

When the 5,300-year-old body of a Stone Age man was discovered entombed in a glacier in the Italian Alps in 1991, it was hailed as one of the most significant archeological finds ever. Then the deaths began.

These were strange, often accidental deaths of people who had come into close contact with the frozen corpse, dubbed Oetzi. There was talk of a curse. Could it be that the Iceman was angry at being disturbed from his 53 century-long slumber?

Yesterday it was revealed that Oetzi (found in the Oetzal Alps) had claimed his seventh "victim": an Australian-based scientist, Tom Loy, who carried out ground-breaking DNA analysis on the corpse. His colleagues are in shock, his family bereft. And even those who disparage curses as superstitious nonsense are experiencing, perhaps, the tiniest of shivers.

Dr Loy was 63, a Californian-born molecular biologist who joined the University of Queensland a decade ago after gaining a doctorate from the Australian National University in Canberra. He headed a team that minutely studied Oetzi, together with his prehistoric tools and weapons.

Helmut and Erika Simon, a German couple who were keen mountaineers, had stumbled across the cadaver, perfectly preserved, wearing a woven grass cloak, goatskin leggings and bearskin hat. Nearby were a bow and arrows, a stone-tipped knife, an antler-skinning tool and a copper-headed axe. Oetzi had died, clearly, while out hunting. Early theories suggested he perished after an accident, alone.

Dr Loy's research soon debunked that idea. He and his team identified four different types of blood on Oetzi's clothes and tools, all belonging to other people. He surmised that the Iceman had been with a comrade, and had died after a territorial battle with rivals. Possibly he had carried a wounded companion some distance, before depositing his tools and weapons and lying down to die.

Dr Loy humanised our ancient ancestor, endowing him with a personality and tracing the last moments before his demise. The Californian won international acclaim for his work, which was the subject of several television documentaries.

A fortnight ago, he was found dead at his home in Brisbane. It was only yesterday, ahead of a memorial service on Monday, that the news emerged.

His brother, Gareth, who has travelled to Australia for the service, told The Australian newspaper that an autopsy had proved inconclusive. The coroner ruled out foul play, stating that he had died of natural causes, or an accident, or both.

Gareth Loy, however, said his brother had not been a well man. Twelve years ago, just after starting work on the Oetzi project, he had been diagnosed as suffering from a hereditary condition that caused his blood to clot. Asked about the issue of a curse, Mr Loy said that it had never been a subject of discussion between them.

Academics, of course, pour scorn on such notions. Tom Loy's colleagues at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience refused to comment yesterday. But one university source said staff were deeply upset, not only by his death, but by all the speculation about a curse.

"They feel that it trivialises his death, and does not do justice to his life and work," said the source. "He was a brilliant academic, and that is how his colleagues want to remember him."

But for others, the link between Mr Loy's death and that of other men associated with Oetzi is irresistible. Mr Simon, 67, met a strikingly similar end to the man whom he chanced across in an icy tomb in northern Italy, near the Austrian border. A retired caretaker from Nuremberg, he was hiking through the snow with his wife when they made the historic find in September 1991. But the event came to haunt the couple, for they grew embittered by the world's failure to recognise the role that they played, and to recompense them financially.

In October last year, Mr Simon went walking in Austria, barely 100 miles from the spot where he encountered Oetzi. He failed to return and was found dead eight days later, having apparently fallen 300ft during a freak blizzard.

An hour after Mr Simon's funeral, Dieter Warnecke, the head of the mountain rescue team dispatched to look for him, died of a heart attack. Mr Warnecke was 45 and, according to his family, perfectly fit.

The first "victim" of the curse, though, was Rainer Henn, 64, a forensic pathologist who picked up the cadaver with his bare hands and placed it in a body bag. Dr Henn died in a head-on collision in 1992 while on his way to a conference where he planned to present new findings on the remains.

Not long afterwards Kurt Fritz, a mountaineer who guided Dr Henn to the Iceman and was one of the first people to gaze upon his face, died in an avalanche. An experienced climber who knew the region intimately, he was the only member of his party to be struck by the falling rocks.

Rainer Hölz, 47, an Austrian journalist, exclusively filmed the removal of the body from its cocoon of ice, making an hour-long documentary that was shown around the world. A few months later he died of a brain tumour.

Before Dr Loy, the most recent "victim" was Konrad Spindler, an Austrian archeologist and leading expert on the Iceman. Spindler had scoffed at suggestions of a curse, declaring: "I think it's a load of rubbish. It is all a media hype. The next thing you will be saying I will be next." He died last April, aged 66, of complications from multiple sclerosis.

Dr Loy was on the brink of completing a book about his work on Oetzi, according to colleagues. His studies had enabled him to piece together a version of events leading up to the Stone Age man's death.

Oetzi was shot in the back with a flint arrow; he also had cuts on his hands, wrists and rib-cage. Dr Loy concluded from blood samples on an arrow that he might have killed two of his assailants and retrieved it to fire again.

In an interview a few years ago, he said: "On the basis of all my examinations, Oetzi's speciality was hunting the high alpine passes for ibex [wild goat] and possibly chamois, which would have taken him into boundary conditions where other people would have disputed the territory.

"I suspect that as he realised his life was ending, he stopped, put his gear down, stacked it neatly against a rock wall and lay down and expired. He didn't keel over, although he was probably tired, exhausted and hurt like hell."

Controversy surrounded the cadaver from the start. After the Simons found it in the melting glacier, its head and shoulder protruding from the ice, the Austrian authorities took it to Innsbruck for examination. Initial assumptions that it was a modern corpse - that of a hiker who had struck misfortune, for instance - were overturned, amid high excitement.

Italy, however, was determined to claim Oetzi for its own. The Italian authorities were convinced that his grave lay inside their border and, after the establishment of a boundary commission, he was repatriated over the Brenner Pass under armed guard. The Iceman now resides in the South Tyrol Museum in Bolzano, where he earns millions of dollars a year in entry fees.

The Simons fought for years for a share of that money. Eventually the Italian courts recognised them as the official finders, and they were awarded a settlement of £34,000. Mr Simon returned to the Alps to celebrate the legal victory, but met his death in the snowy wastes. His wife has yet to receive any of the reward money.

Their claim was disputed by a Slovenian actress, Magdalena Mohar Jarc, and a Swiss hiker, Sandra Nemeth, both of whom maintained that they came across the corpse before the Simons. Ms Nemeth said she became embroiled in a bitter row with the couple, during which she fell over the corpse. She was so determined to stake her claim, she told the courts, that she spat on it " in order to leave DNA evidence of my discovery".

Ms Jarc claimed that it was she who first saw Oetzi. She left in order to find someone to photograph him, she said, and returned with the Simons.

It has been established that Oetzi was a man of 30 to 45 years of age, who stood about 5ft 3in tall. In the past 14 years his body has been studied exhaustively by teams of scientists from around the world. They have analysed the contents of his intestines to determine his last meals, which consisted of ibex, red deer, grains and pollen. They have inspected his colon, finding that he was infested with whipworm, and fashioned replicas of his footwear, which were made of animal skin stuffed with dried grass.

Examination of his clothes has revealed the presence of fleas. The minerals in his tooth enamel have been pored over to determine his stamping-ground. At one point he was even briefly thawed to enable skin and tissue samples to be taken.

He continues to exert fascination, among laymen as well as the scientific community. And, if proponents of the curse theory are to be believed, he continues to exact some strange form of vengeance on the people closely involved with him.

Curse or coincidence? Three legends of bad luck


The inscription outside the ancient Egyptian king's tomb read: "Death shall come on swift wings to him who disturbs the peace of the King." And it did. When Howard Carter found the tomb in the 1920s, he called on his wealthy patron, Lord Carnarvon, to inspect his discovery. After entering, Carnarvon died of a high fever caused by an infected mosquito bite on his cheek. As he died, the power in Cairo mysteriously failed and the city went dark.


The world's most famous diamond is also thought to be unlucky for those close to it. The gem was allegedly stolen by merchant Jean Baptiste Tavernier from the eye of a Hindu statue. He was later torn apart by wild dogs in Russia. Marie Antoinette was another unlucky owner. The curse also affected the Hope family, who went bankrupt. A later owner, Evelyn Walsh McLean, also suffered: her first son died in a car crash, her daughter committed suicide and her husband was declared insane.


The Sangorski edition of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was billed as one of the world's most ornate books, but it sank with the Titanic in 1912. Six weeks later, its creator, Francis Sangorski, drowned in a bathing accident. When Stanley Bray decided to replicate the book by working from Sangorski's original prints, bad luck struck again. This time the book was obliterated in the London Blitz. A third version is now in the British Library.

Oetzi the Ice Man Claims a Seventh victim.

From todays Daily Telegraph.

Seventh victim of the Ice Man's 'curse'
By Nick Squires in Sydney
(Filed: 05/11/2005)

An Australian scientist who carried out research on the Stone Age hunter known as Oetzi the Ice Man has died, renewing speculation that the tribesman's remains are cursed.

Tom Loy, 63, is the seventh person connected with Oetzi to have died prematurely since the 5,300-year-old hunter's corpse was found on the border of Austria and Italy in 1991.

He was diagnosed with a rare blood condition 12 years ago, shortly after he became involved in research into Oetzi. He is believed to have died two weeks ago but his body remained undiscovered for several days. He was divorced.

In 1992, the head of a forensic team which examined the ice man was killed in a car crash. The mountaineer who guided him to the body and organised the transportation of the mummified remains died in an avalanche.

The Austrian journalist who filmed the removal of the body died of a brain tumour aged 47. The German tourist who discovered Oetzi fell to his death while hiking.

The head of the rescue team sent to find him dropped dead from a heart attack within an hour of his funeral. And in April an archaeologist who first inspected the corpse after it was dug from the ice died of complications from multiple sclerosis.

Source:- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh ... etzi05.xml
Oh no...I saw a documentary about the iceman...I'm probably next.... :roll:
Infertility link in iceman's DNA

By Rebecca Morelle
BBC News science reporter

Oetzi, the prehistoric man frozen in a glacier for 5,300 years, could have been infertile, a new study suggests. Genetic research, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, also confirms that his roots probably lie in Central Europe.

Oetzi's body was found in the melting ice of the Schnalstal glacier in the Italian Alps in 1991.

Examination of his remains has already revealed the Copper Age man almost certainly died as a result of a fight.

The assessment is based on the presence of an arrowhead that is lodged in his back and extensive cuts to his hands.

The scientists behind the latest genetic research now speculate that Oetzi's possible sterility could have been a factor that led to this violent end.

We cannot say for certain that he was suffering from this [reduced sperm mobility], but there is a chance
Dr Franco Rollo, University of Camerino

Dr Franco Rollo, from the University of Camerino, and colleagues examined stretches of DNA taken from cells in the iceman's intestines.
In particular, they looked at the genetic material contained in mitochondria, tiny structures that provide power to cells. This type of DNA is passed only down the maternal line.

The team says it found areas that are linked to an increased chance of male infertility.

"We screened sites [of the DNA] which have been described by other scientists as being linked to other pathologies or environmental adaptations," Dr Rollo said.

"A couple of these sites have been described as being linked to reduced sperm mobility and we found both on Oetzi's mitochondrial DNA," he told the BBC New website.

"We cannot say for certain that he was suffering from this [reduced sperm mobility], but there is a chance."

'Lack of family'

Dr Rollo said the idea that Oetzi might have been infertile was intriguing, and while emphasising that this was purely speculation, he noted it would be interesting to pursue the idea further.

"At the moment, purely as a matter of speculation, I am in touch with some cultural anthropologists, medical anthropologists and archaeologists to obtain information on what this [male infertility] could have meant in primitive society," he added.
"One would have to investigate whether there was an awareness of male infertility in this ancient society; and if so, whether the lack of a family or clan could represent a kind of social weakness."

At first it was thought Oetzi had died from exposure to the cold, but the wounds on his hands and the arrowhead would seem to indicate he died as a result of injuries he received in a fight.

Given the suggestion that Oetzi may have been infertile, Dr Rollo wondered whether the social implications of this could have played a role in the chain of events that led to a confrontation.

Maternal line

The team also looked at patterns in Oetzi's DNA to try to establish more information about his roots.

The scientists discovered that he belonged to the K1 subdivision of the haplogroup known as K.

Haplogroups can be described as the branches of the human genealogical tree. Each haplogroup corresponds to early human migrations to the various continents or geographical regions.

The DNA within our cells contains the genetic information that spells out the "code of life"
It is wound up in bundles known as chromosomes that are found in the cell nucleus (nuclear DNA); DNA also lies within mitochondria outside of the nucleus (mtDNA)
mtDNA is inherited only through females via the egg and can be used to trace backwards through evolution; the male sex chromosome (Y) similarly tracks male evolution
DNA breaks down over time making recovery difficult from ancient specimens. Fossils are often contaminated with modern human DNA during handling, and it is difficult to tell this apart from ancient DNA

K is a comparatively rare haplogroup amongst Europeans, but it has higher frequencies in populations in Ladin in the south of the Alps, and also the Oetzal area to the north.
But Dr Rollo cautioned against the certainty of these results because knowledge of the group's distribution is still poor and there are only small population samples to compare with it.

The researchers also found that Oetzi belonged to a fourth subcategory of the K1 group that had previously not been seen.

"This means that our analysis of the mummy's mitochondrial DNA is more detailed than the average analysis done on modern populations," said Professor Rollo.

Dr Mim Bower, an archaeogeneticist from the McDonald Institute at the University of Cambridge, UK, commented on the research: "This is an interesting paper and shows how valuable mitochondrial DNA can be.

"From the point of view of ancient DNA, it is extremely useful because each cell has lots of mitochondria in it, and therefore lots of copies of mitochondrial DNA, which gives you a much better chance of recovering it after several thousand years of DNA decay."

But Dr Bower pointed out that it can also have limitations.

"What it does not do is give us a complete picture. Because mitochondrial DNA is passed through the maternal line, what we are actually looking at is Oetzi's mother, and grandmother, and so on. We are only seeing the female line," she said.

"With nuclear DNA can we build a more complete picture, but this is very hard to extract from such ancient specimens."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/s ... 674866.stm

Published: 2006/02/03 09:17:39 GMT

This'd be quite remarkable if true:

Oetzi's Murder Recorded on Ancient Stone?

By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

March 21, 2006—Ötzi the Iceman's murder might have been recorded on stone, according to a carving on a Copper Age stele.

Found in Laces, a town not far from the glacier in the Ötztal Alps where the 5,300-year-old mummy was discovered in 1991, the stone shows an human figure filled with carvings, Lorenzo Dal Ri, director of the archaeological office of the Bolzano province, told Discovery News.

"The stele had long been unnoticed as it was used to build the altar of a church in Laces. One carving is especially interesting: it shows an archer ready to shoot an arrow on an unarmed man's back," said Dal Ri.

This is exactly how Ötzi the Iceman was killed: hit by a flint arrow in the left shoulder while being assaulted by his enemies, some of whose blood was found on the mummy's cloak and weapons.

According to Eduard Egarter Vigl, the official caretaker of the world's oldest and best-preserved mummy at the South Tyrol Archaeological Museum in Bolzano, which attracts around 300,000 visitors a year, Ötzi managed to flee up the mountain until he collapsed and was entombed in the Similaun Glacier's ice.

Probably caught in a storm at 10,000 feet, the prehistoric man spent at least three days in excruciating pain before he died of blood loss, hunger, cold and weakness, said Egarter.

"The carving on the stele has an impressive resemblance with Ötzi's death. It is indeed a fascinating hypothesis, though we can't say for sure this is the picture of Ötzi's murder," Dal Ri said.

The scholar has published the finding in a chapter of the book "The Chalcolithic Mummy. In Search of Immortality," in which various scientists detail the latest findings and the technologies used to preserve the mummy.

According to Dal Ri, the stele needs further study, especially regarding its dating.

"We know it dates from the Copper Age, Ötzi's time, but this is obviously not enough. We would need a much more precise dating," Dal Ri said.

On display at the church Santa Maria sul Colle in Laces, the stele is however unique as it features one of the earliest artistic representations of a murder.

"I think this is a very interesting finding. The carving could depict a very famous event occurred at that time. If it refers to Ötzi's death, this would confirm that his murder was something people talked about for a long time," Egarter told Discovery News.

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20 ... i_arc.html

It could also be that the killing was a ritual one and the carving is a general depiction of the ritual.
One way to get rid of an old shaman...

Supposing Oetzi had been an especially powerful and dangerous one though.... :shock:
WOW, perhaps otzi became a local myth at the time, because he nicked the chiefs brand new copper axe. :eek:
crunchy5 said:
WOW, perhaps otzi became a local myth at the time, because he nicked the chiefs brand new copper axe. :eek:
Or, maybe because he could do some real powerful hoodoo. I wonder what fate befell his killers?

The possibilites for Fortean speculation are endless. :yeay:
'Iceman' row ends after 17 years

A legal battle sparked by the discovery of the world-famous 5,300-year-old "Iceman" known as Oetzi in northern Italy in 1991 has finally been settled.

German hikers Erika and Helmut Simon found the remains, but officials in the north Italian province of Bolzano had refused an adequate finders' fee.

A court ruled against the province in 2006, and it has finally agreed to pay 150,000 euros (£120,000; $216,000).

But the award has come too late for Mr Simon, who died four years ago.

The money will go to his 71-year-old widow.

Tourist income

The row began in earnest in 1994, when the Simons turned down a "symbolic" reward of 10 million lire (5,200 euros).

Italian law stipulates a finders' fee of 25% of a discovery's value. Oetzi has brought many visitors to Bolzano - and millions of euros as a result.

In 2006 a court ordered the provincial government to ''properly'' compensate Erika Simon.

But lawyers for the council contested the ruling.

They argued that the council had footed the bill for the excavation and provided an air-conditioned, temperature-controlled home for the iceman.

On Monday, the council finally agreed to the Mrs Simon's claim, saying the reward was in recognition of the couple's discovery and the tourist income it attracts.

Curse of Oetzi?

The BBC's Mark Duff, in Milan, says Oetzi has brought nothing but bad luck to many of those involved in his discovery.

Mr Simon died in a mountaineering accident in 2004, and six other people linked to the discovery in some way have died in apparently mysterious circumstances.

This has all led to talk of a Tutankhamen-like "curse of Oetzi", our correspondent says.

Oetzi, named after the Oetz Valley where he was discovered, was one of the great archaeological finds of recent years.

He was still wearing goatskin leggings and a grass cape, and his copper-headed axe and a quiver full of arrows were lying nearby.

At first, it was thought he died from cold and hunger, but researchers were eventually able to establish that he died from injuries sustained in a conflict.

Oetzi was about 159cm tall (5ft 2.5in), 46 years old, arthritic, and infested with whipworm.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/e ... 643286.stm
Ancient mummy has no modern children, says 'Iceman' study

The 5,300 year old human mummy – dubbed Öetzi or 'the Tyrolean Iceman' – is highly unlikely to have modern day relatives, according to new research published today.

A team comprising scientists from Italy and the UK has sequenced Öetzi's entire mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genome - which is passed down through the maternal line – and found that he belonged to a genetic lineage that is either extremely rare, or that has died out.

Published in this month's issue of Current Biology, the research has generated the oldest complete Homo sapiens mtDNA genome to date, and overturns previous research conducted in 1994 on a small section of Öetzi's mtDNA, which suggested that relatives of Öetzi may still exist in Europe.

"Changes arise only gradually in mitochondrial DNA as it is passed down the generations," says co-author Professor Martin Richards of the University of Leeds' Faculty of Biological Sciences, "and so it provides an effective way of tracking ancestry through the female line across many thousands of years, as well as examining evolutionary relatedness across human populations."

The team, led by Professor Franco Rollo at the University of Camerino and Dr Luca Ermini working at both Camerino and Leeds, used powerful new technologies to sequence Öetzi's mtDNA and match it with a modern day haplogroup – in genetic terms, a group that shares a common ancestral DNA sequence. He belonged to a branch of haplogroup K1, which is still common throughout Europe today. However, almost all members of K1 sampled from modern Europeans belong to one of three sub-lineages, whereas Öetzi's lineage was completely distinct.

After death DNA begins to degrade immediately, so ancient DNA is very fragmented and any study of it has to be completed in hundreds of sections. For this research the team tested around 250 fragments, each of which had to be sequenced many times to ensure the results were not distorted.

"Our analysis confirms that Öetzi belonged to a previously unidentified lineage of K1 that has not been seen to date in modern European populations. The frequency of genetic lineages tends to change over time, due to random variations in the number of children people have - a process known as 'genetic drift' - and as a result, some variants die out. Our research suggests that Öetzi's lineage may indeed have become extinct," says Prof Richards.

"We'll only know for sure by sampling intensively in the Alpine valleys where Öetzi was born. However, our results do suggest that studies of ancient samples can fill in gaps in our knowledge left open simply because many genetic lineages died out thousands of years ago. The techniques we've used here are potentially applicable to many other ancient remains."

Öetzi's mummified remains were discovered in September 1991 in the Eastern Alps near the Austro-Italian border. He was approximately 46 years old when he died, and examinations revealed that he had been severely wounded by an arrow and possibly finished off with a mace blow to the face. He is estimated to have lain undiscovered for approximately 5,300 years. His body was almost wholly preserved, together with an array of clothes and weapons, providing an unprecedented insight into the Late Neolithic or Copper Age in Europe. Since 1998 he has been on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy.

Source: University of Leeds
He may have tried to save himself through first aid.

The First Aid: Iceman May Have Dressed His Own Wounds
By Alexis Madrigal

The 5,000-year-old Tyrolean iceman may have used bog moss as a prehistoric wound dressing, according to a new analysis of his body's remains.

Suffering from an arrow wound and a deep cut to the right hand, the iceman, known as Ötzi, may have engaged in some ancient first aid using the moss, a well-known wound dressing used as recently as the 20th century.

"If he knew of the useful properties of bog mosses, as seems entirely plausible, then he may have gathered some to staunch the wound or wounds," wrote James Dickson, an archaeobotanist at the University of Glasgow, and his team in the journal Vegetation History and Archaeobotany. "Tiny pieces could well have stuck to the blood drying on his fingers and then he accidentally ingested some of them when next eating meat or bread as we know he did during his last few days."

His medical skills, however, couldn't prevent his death; archaeologists believe he was killed by an arrow.

The analysis of the fauna found near or inside human remains has added new dimensions to the study of the diets and habits of prehistoric people. The discipline has been particularly fruitful in the case of the iceman. Archaeologists had previously identified both intestinal parasites in Ötzi's colon and an anti-parasitic bark fungus that they believe he was using to treat himself.

Five samples of Ötzi's intestinal tract formed the basis of the new study. In total, six mosses were found in the bowels of the Iceman of the Alps, who has stirred widespread interest since his discovery in 1991. Some of the mosses, the scientists say, reveal aspects of the final days of this Copper Age man.

They believe that the iceman wrapped food in Neckera complanata, a fan moss, because it was found in all of the alimentary samples. That prevalence suggests that it was used systematically and wasn't just accidentally swallowed. The presence of a different moss found in wet areas indicates that Ötzi drank brackish water in the days leading up to his death.

While the new Ötzi work focused on the digestive track, a separate study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences used a different technique to pin down the diet of Peruvians who lived 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. The examination of starch grains scraped from dirty teeth recovered from an archaeological site revealed that agriculture was in full swing in the region during that time.

"We found starch from a variety of cultivated plants: squash, Phaseolus beans ... pacay, a fruit from a cultivated tree and peanuts," said one of the paper's authors, Dolores Piperno, an archaeobotanist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the National Museum of Natural History, in a press release.

The success of the study — it pushed back the cultivation of beans and pacay 1,000 years — and others like it (e.g., last year's ancient chili pepper story) show the power of starch-grain analysis, which has been around for decades, but with few practitioners. The method, popularized by Piperno, could shed even more light on the diets and habits of prehistoric peoples.

"Starch analysis of teeth should greatly improve our ability to address other important questions in human dietary change relating to earlier time periods, such as possible differences between Neanderthal and early modern human diets and their roles in Neanderthal extinction," said Piperno.


1. "Six mosses from the Tyrolean Iceman’s alimentary tract and their significance for his ethnobotany and the events of his last days" by James H. Dickson, Wolfgang Hofbauer, Ronald Porley, Alexandra Schmidl, Werner Kofler and Klaus Oeggl. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany: DOI 10.1007/s00334-007-0141-7

2. "Starch grains on human teeth reveal early broad crop diet in northern Peru" by Dolores R. Piperno and Tom D. Dillehay. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: DOI 10.1073/pnas.0808752105

Scientists decode Oetzi the Iceman's DNA
A team of international scientists have decoded the DNA of the oldest mummified man ever found in an attempt to track down his relatives and map genetic changes over time.
Published: 7:00AM BST 02 Aug 2010

Nearly 20 years after Oetzi the iceman was found in a melting Alpine glacier on the border of Austria and Italy, researchers have extracted DNA from a bone in his pelvis and sequenced his entire genome.

Oetzi died 5,300 years ago. His remains are now on display in a museum in the Italian town of Bolzano.

Now Dr Albert Zink, the director of the Iceman Institute in Bolzano, said the information from Oetzi's DNA might shed light on hereditary aspects of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

"There are key gene mutations that we know are associated with diseases such as cancer and diabetes and we want to see if Oetzi had them or whether they arose more recently," he said.

Dr Zink now hopes to find Oetzi's living relatives in time for next year's 20th anniversary of his discovery.

"From comparisons based on the mitochondrial DNA we weren't able to find any relatives in the region. But with the entire genome, there's a good chance we might," said Dr Zink. "We're at the start of a big and very exciting project. I think Oetzi is going to provide us with a lot of information."

Oetzi was discovered in the snow on 19 September 1991.

He was about 5ft 5in tall, weighed about 9.2 stone and was probably around 45 years old when he died.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... s-DNA.html