DNA scans reveal 5,300-year-old ‘Iceman’ had brown eyes, relatives in Sardinia – and the first known case of Lyme disease.

Article by Rob Waugh first appeared on Daily Mail online 29th February 2012 .

The 5,300-year-old ‘ice mummy’ known as Otzi suffered from the world’s first-known case of Lyme disease, a bacterial parasite spread by ticks, according to new DNA analysis.
Otzi, who was 46 at the time of his death and measured 5ft2, also had brown eyes, had relatives in Sardinia, and was lactose intolerant. Otzi was also predisposed to heart disease.
The new research focused on the DNA in the nuclei of Otzi’s cells, and could yield further insights into the famous ‘ice mummy’s life.

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Oetzi the iceman, whose 5,000-year-old remains were found in the Alps 21 years ago, might have died of a heart attack had he lived longer and was allergic to milk products, according to a new DNA scan.

 

The ancient natural mummy was believed to have died 5,300 years ago when he was hit by an arrow during a hunting trip, or possibly in an accident.
The new analysis found genetic material from the Lyme disease parasite while investigating Otzi’s own DNA.

Albert Zink of the University of Bozen said that the new analysis also showed that Otzi has relatives. Earlier analysis of his mitochondrial DNA, passed down through the maternal line, found no living relatives.
”His ancestors came from Europe originally from the East and spread over most or part of Europe,’ says Zink. ‘His original population was somehow replaced by other populations, but they remained quite stable in remote areas like Sardinia and Corsica.’

Mysteries of Oetzi the Iceman further unravelled
A reconstruction of Oetzi the Iceman in Bozen, Italy. Oetzi was lactose intolerant and had relatives in Sardinia according to a new Dna scan.

 

He was unearthed in September 1991 by a couple of German tourists trekking through the Oetz Valley, after which he was named.
He was about 46 years old when he met his death.
The iceman has been crucial to our understanding of how prehistoric people lived, what they wore and even what they ate.

Researchers examining the contents of his stomach worked out that his final meal consisted of venison and ibex meat.

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Oetzi the iceman’s true identity has been shrouded in myth and mystery – a faceless corpse that has embodied a bygone era of humankind.

Archaeologists believe Oetzi, who was carrying a bow, a quiver of arrows and a copper axe, may have been a hunter or warrior killed in a skirmish with a rival tribe.
Researchers say he was about 159cm tall (5ft 2.5in), 46 years old, arthritic and infested with whipworm, an intestinal parasite.
His perfectly preserved body is stored in his own specially designed cold storage chamber at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Italy at a constant temperature of -6°C. Visitors can view the mummy through a small window.
Alongside his remains is a new Oetzi model created using 3D images of the corpse and forensic technology by two Dutch artists – Alfons and Adrie Kennis.

 

Article by Rob Waugh first appeared on Daily Mail online 29th February 2012 .

 

 

 

 

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