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Iceman Autopsy
National Geographic ^ | 11-2011 | Stephen S. Hall

Posted on 10/29/2011 4:22:00 AM PDT by Renfield

Shortly after 6 p.m. on a drizzling, dreary November day in 2010, two men dressed in green surgical scrubs opened the door of the Iceman's chamber in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. They slid the frozen body onto a stainless steel gurney. One of the men was a young scientist named Marco Samadelli. Normally, it was his job to keep the famous Neolithic mummy frozen under the precise conditions that had preserved it for 5,300 years, following an attack that had left the Iceman dead, high on a nearby mountain. On this day, however, Samadelli had raised the temperature in the museum's tiny laboratory room to 18°C—64°F.

With Samadelli was a local pathologist with a trim mustache named Eduard Egarter Vigl, known informally as the Iceman's "family doctor." While Egarter Vigl poked and prodded the body with knowing, sometimes brusque familiarity, a handful of other scientists and doctors gathered around in the cramped space, preparing to do the unthinkable: defrost the Iceman. The next day, in a burst of hurried surgical interventions as urgent as any operation on a living person, they would perform the first full-scale autopsy on the thawed body, hoping to shed new light on the mystery of who the Iceman really was and how he had died such a violent death.

Egarter Vigl and Samadelli carefully transferred the body to a custom-made box lined with sterilized aluminum foil. In its frozen state, the Iceman's deep caramel skin had a dignified luster, reminiscent of a medieval figure painted in egg tempera. With the agonized reach of his rigid left arm and the crucifixate tilt of his crossed feet, the defrosting mummy struck a pose that wouldn't look out of place in a 14th-century altarpiece....

(Excerpt) Read more at ngm.nationalgeographic.com ...


TOPICS: History; Science
KEYWORDS: ancientautopsies; godsgravesglyphs; iceman; neolithic; oetzi; otzi; theiceman
"...The autopsy results have also rewritten the story of the Iceman's final moments. The neuroscientists determined that blood had indeed accumulated at the back of the Iceman's brain, suggesting some sort of trauma—either from falling on his face from the force of the arrow, Zink speculated, or perhaps from a coup de grâce administered by his assailant. DNA analysis of the final meal is ongoing, but one thing is already clear: It was greasy. Initial tests indicate the presence of fatty, baconlike meat of a kind of wild goat called an alpine ibex. "He really must have had a heavy meal at the end," Zink said—a fact that undermines the notion that he was fleeing in fear. Instead, it appears he was resting in a spot protected from the wind, tranquilly digesting his meal, unaware of the danger he was in...."
1 posted on 10/29/2011 4:22:06 AM PDT by Renfield
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To: SunkenCiv

Iceman Ping....


2 posted on 10/29/2011 4:22:30 AM PDT by Renfield (Turning apples into venison since 1999!)
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To: Renfield

I visited the Iceman in person this past summer. There is a window on his freezer so that you can see him. More fascinating than the body itself is all of the assorted paraphernalia that was found with him. The museum has his boots, backpack, a bow he was making, his clothes, the contents of his bags, etc. He was carrying a lot of stuff with him, and it was all really well made. It was very beautiful.


3 posted on 10/29/2011 4:35:56 AM PDT by Explorer89 (And now, let the wild rumpus start!!)
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To: Renfield

Nova had a show on this this week. Surprising finding to me is that they have genetic and physical evidence that Otzi had Limes disease (not mentioned in this article).

I didn’t know they had it in Europe let alone 5 thousand years ago. Another import from the old world I guess.


4 posted on 10/29/2011 5:10:49 AM PDT by DManA
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To: Renfield

How disrespectful can we get?? Any knowledge gained from cutting him open is not useful knowledge. Disgusting.


5 posted on 10/29/2011 5:34:16 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Renfield
Many of his belongings are pictured here, below the ads. http://donsmaps.com/otzi.html
6 posted on 10/29/2011 5:35:19 AM PDT by outofsalt ("If History teaches us anything it's that history rarely teaches us anything")
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To: silverleaf

Read later


7 posted on 10/29/2011 5:41:58 AM PDT by silverleaf (Common sense is not so common - Voltaire)
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To: Sacajaweau

Murder victms are autopsied and often their killers never caught. This case is just colder than most :-)


8 posted on 10/29/2011 5:55:09 AM PDT by mewzilla (Forget a third party. We need a second one.)
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To: Renfield

“Initial tests indicate the presence of fatty, baconlike meat... had a heavy meal at the end”.

Well, if I am going to die.. I’d rather eat bacon than die with a salad in my stomach.


9 posted on 10/29/2011 6:02:27 AM PDT by momtothree
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To: Sacajaweau
How disrespectful can we get?? Any knowledge gained from cutting him open is not useful knowledge. Disgusting.

It’s not disgusting at all. For one thing, the man was not formally buried but left dead, perhaps even murdered and was under snow and ice for 5,000 years. We can gain a lot of knowledge from this autopsy.

For instance, they found that he had coronary artery disease and Lymes disease. Heart disease has been thought to be the result of our modern life style and diet but this goes to indicate that there may be a stronger genetic component that may result in new research. Knowing that he had Lymes tells us a lot about the genetic makeup of the bacteria that causes the disease that plagues so many in modern times. Knowing more about his diet and his physiology is useful.

10 posted on 10/29/2011 6:13:00 AM PDT by MD Expat in PA
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To: Renfield

“....how he had died such a violent death.”

Whaddya bet it was his wife who did it?


11 posted on 10/29/2011 6:25:24 AM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: Sacajaweau
Agreed. Most of it will result in endless conjecture and academic blowhardism - probably the invention of entire new cultures, languages and the channeling lost memories. However, we live in an age where bodies of executed criminals are sliced and diced and tour the world in educational exhibits for the whole family with their guts strewn about and in saucy poses. Besides, who cares about some ancient dead guy in a culture where you can cut babies in chunks on the public dime because the Founders meant you to have such sacred rights.
12 posted on 10/29/2011 6:29:55 AM PDT by WorkingClassFilth (Hey Lefties, expiate your liberal racist guilt, but use your brain: Vote CAIN in 2012!)
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To: Renfield

ping


13 posted on 10/29/2011 6:38:47 AM PDT by Swede Girl
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To: Sacajaweau

Thousands of autopsies are done every day. Do you oppose the practice on religious grounds?


14 posted on 10/29/2011 6:44:42 AM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA

Nope....It’s totally personal...Defacing and degrading human beings is simply wrong. Society lived without it for millions of years.


15 posted on 10/29/2011 6:51:37 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: WorkingClassFilth

Thanks. In the end, it’s all about money. How much Grant Money has been spent on Otzi?? And I’m sure there’s more to come.


16 posted on 10/29/2011 6:54:13 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Sacajaweau

FWIW, I think that human remains should be treated with respect and dignity. If that was done in this case, the article certainly didn’t convey that.


17 posted on 10/29/2011 6:54:41 AM PDT by mewzilla (Forget a third party. We need a second one.)
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To: Sacajaweau

One out of 10 deaths in the US results in an autopsy.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/articles/2011/08/04/numbers-of-autopsies-performed-in-us-falls


18 posted on 10/29/2011 6:58:05 AM PDT by DManA
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To: mewzilla

From the NOVA show, the researchers are treating the body almost reverently. They couldn’t retrieve the arrowhead in his ribs because they were afraid of doing too much damage.


19 posted on 10/29/2011 6:59:49 AM PDT by DManA
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To: Renfield

They put him in a box lined with aluminum foil? They’re going to tan him! Does he have the money for the tan tax?


20 posted on 10/29/2011 7:20:33 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Renfield

He killed and ate a wild goat, and then someone killed him? Quick....was there greenpeace back then? You’ll find your murderer there.


21 posted on 10/29/2011 7:22:45 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: MD Expat in PA

Just astonishing what they can do with genes today. They could tell by a marker that Otsi had brown eyes. Said his closest relatives today are found on (I think) Sardinia.

They have techniques that give them as much information in 3 days as would have taken 3 years a half a decade ago. And 10 years ago they couldn’t even imagine doing these tests.


22 posted on 10/29/2011 7:26:47 AM PDT by DManA
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To: blueunicorn6

Killed a goat? May have killed and ate a neolithic muzzies wife?


23 posted on 10/29/2011 7:28:25 AM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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Weary But Not Beaten!


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Consider Becoming A Monthly Donor

24 posted on 10/29/2011 8:01:02 AM PDT by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
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To: central_va

I suppose that is cannibalism to them.


25 posted on 10/29/2011 8:06:35 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Renfield; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks Renfield. I thought we'd had recent stuff on Oetzi, not sure now, so I'm going to cast doubt to the four winds and ping this. :')

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


26 posted on 10/29/2011 10:25:31 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

That has to be one of the best “mysteries” I’ve ever heard of, and I’m so glad we now have the technology to do more than guess. I’ve followed his story since he was found.

Thanks!


27 posted on 10/29/2011 10:37:09 AM PDT by Monkey Face (It's OK to stumble, as long as you fall forward. <Unknown>)
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To: Sacajaweau; DManA
An interesting find on the Iceman's body ....


Near the Iceman's knee, a cross-shaped tattoo still stands out on his leathery skin. It may have been a folk remedy for arthritic joint pain.

... or .... I guess we will never know the truth.

28 posted on 10/29/2011 11:53:00 AM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

Acupuncture points.


29 posted on 10/29/2011 12:34:36 PM PDT by blam
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To: Sacajaweau

I guess you’d have to take that up with the socialist governments of Austria and Italy. Luckily, no American tax money was spent giving grants to researchers who were perpetuating this pursuit of knowledge of our ancient forebears.

Is it money on anthropological research you disapprove of, or all grant money?


30 posted on 10/29/2011 12:46:52 PM PDT by worst-case scenario (Striving to reach the light)
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To: Sacajaweau

“Society” hasn’t existed for “millions of years.” Homo sapiens itself has only been around for 200,000 years or so.

But even overlooking your vast exaggeration, your premise is still incorrect. Look at he treatment of corpses in the oldest civilization we have written records of - the Egyptian, dating from 3200 BC. There certainly WAS dismemberment of the dead human body from society’s earliest days. The earliest canopic jars date from the dynasty of Huni, 2637 - 2613 BC. Having your viscera all pulled out and stuffed into 4 jars (so that you can more easily find them in the afterlife) should certainly constitute “defacing and degrading human beings.”

Of course, there’s also the argument that slavery, as it has been practiced since time immemorial, also constitutes “defacing and degrading human beings.” It’s estimated that there are presently over 20 million people in slavery today, from servants in the Sudan to child carpet weavers in India. You may feel just as strongly against that, as well.

However, it shoots your theory that “society did without it” to pieces. If you give humans the freedom to treat other humans like dirt, without fear of retribution or sanction, they will do just that.


31 posted on 10/29/2011 1:02:16 PM PDT by worst-case scenario (Striving to reach the light)
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To: Renfield
A bit grisly but fascinating none the less. Unlike some of the other readers I don't find this to be a disrespectful mutilation. The first team did that. It seems as if this time around they took all the precautions they could to not damage the remains while gathering as much useful information as possible.

It's also really interesting to find out that Lyme disease was active in Europe back then. I thought it was a New World disease spread by North American ticks.

As far as hardening of the arteries... I'm not sure I'm positive that this suggests a more genetically basis. His stomach was full of highly fatty meats. Exactly the sorts of things my doctor warns me about. Unless there is some light that could be shed on this for me.

32 posted on 10/30/2011 3:22:07 PM PDT by texanred
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