5,000-Year-Old Blood Sample Found in Otzi the Iceman
A blood sample over 5,000 years old was found in Otzi the Iceman, a Neolithic herder or trader whose dead frozen body was discovered on the Italian Alps in 1991. Otzi was felled by an arrow in the back. A team of scientists from Italy and Germany used advanced technology to find red blood cells in Otzi's wounds. The image above is an atomic force microscope (ACM) image of one of Otzi's ancient red blood cells. This is the oldest human blood ever discovered.
It was originally thought that Otzi suffered for hours after being stuck by the arrow, but the National Geographicreports that researchers believe Otzi did not last long after being struck by the arrow. The researchers say Fibrin, a blood clotting agent found in Otzi's wound, suggests he died very quickly.
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The research team includes Albert Zink, Prof. Robert Stark and Marek Janko who are members of the Center for NanoSciences in Munich. The research was published here in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
Image: Marek Janko/Center for NanoSciences in Munich