What is Otzi, the Iceman?

In 1991, two German tourists were hiking in the Otzal Alps, on the Italian side of the border between Italy and Austria, when they happened upon what appeared to be a corpse buried beneath the ice. Astounded, they alerted authorities. It was found that Otzi (as the body was named) was a 45-year-old traveller himself who was more than 5,300 years old. It was likely he faced what investigators believe was a violent death. On his body were more than 50 tattoos, jewelry, and weapons, all of which gave researchers clues into the lives of our copper age ancestors. The Iceman was so well preserved that scientists could estimate his age (about 45), his health, his last meals (that included red deer meat with herb bread) and even his probable cause of death, an arrow wound to the shoulder that sliced an artery.

Recently, Otzi was again in news as scientists have discovered what they say the oldest red blood cells ever identified in the body of Otzi the Iceman. The new finding, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, is a first for Otzi’s mummy, which has been under scientific scrutiny since a pair of hikers stumbled over the body frozen in ice on the Austrian-Italian border.

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