Otzi The Iceman May Have Been Ambushed 5,300 Years Ago

Image: Otzi The Iceman May Have Been Ambushed 5,300 Years Ago A statue representing a mummy of an iceman named Otzi, discovered on 1991 in the Italian Schnal Valley glacier.

Wednesday, 12 Jun 2013 09:05 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Europe's oldest living mummy may have been a victim of an ambush while eating a meal some 5,300 years ago, scientists studying his body have revealed in a new study published this month in the scientific journal "Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences."

The research was highlighted in LiveScience.com on Monday.

Researchers detailed that Otzi, who was found in the Italian Alps in 1991, suffered from heart disease and other ailments, but what really killed him was an arrow.

Scientists said Otzi was hit in the shoulder with an "artery-piercing arrow." Researchers said there was an undigested meal in Otzi's stomach at the time of his death.

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Another study in 2012 study by the Journal of the Royal Society Interface suggested that Otzi likely died shortly after his injuries.

A team from the European Academy of Bolzano/Bozen found clotted blood cells in brain tissue samples, said the U.S. News & World Report. The article said researchers theorized that the mummy's brain suffered bruising before death but could not determine if that came from a blow to the head or from falling to the ground have being hit by the arrow.

"Investigating mummified tissue can be very frustrating," researcher Frank Maixner, said in a EURAC news release. "The samples are often damaged or contaminated and do not necessarily yield results, even after several attempts and using a variety of investigative methods."

"When you think that we have succeeded in identifying actual tissue changes in a human who lived over 5,000 years ago, you can begin to understand how pleased we are as scientists that we persisted with our research after many unsuccessful attempts," Maixner, a microbiologist, said, according to U.S. News & World Report. "It has definitely proved worthwhile."

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The research into Otzi's death is just the latest clue revealed by the mummy. The finding of his well-preserved body in the icy Alps has given scientists fascinating insight to how man lived during the Copper Age.

When discovered, they found that Otzi carried an extensive pack of items that allowed him to travel for long periods. Researchers determined that his items, which he would be able to repair himself, made him efficient and self-reliant.

Related stories:

Italy Scientists Find Oldest Human Blood

Researchers Find Cancer in Ancient Egyptian Mummy

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