Skip to comments.Iceman Autopsy
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°C64°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 ...
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.
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.
How disrespectful can we get?? Any knowledge gained from cutting him open is not useful knowledge. Disgusting.
Murder victms are autopsied and often their killers never caught. This case is just colder than most :-)
“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.
Its 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.
“....how he had died such a violent death.”
Whaddya bet it was his wife who did it?
Thousands of autopsies are done every day. Do you oppose the practice on religious grounds?
Nope....It’s totally personal...Defacing and degrading human beings is simply wrong. Society lived without it for millions of years.
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.
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.
One out of 10 deaths in the US results in an autopsy.
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.
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?
He killed and ate a wild goat, and then someone killed him? Quick....was there greenpeace back then? You’ll find your murderer there.
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.
Killed a goat? May have killed and ate a neolithic muzzies wife?
I suppose that is cannibalism to them.
|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. :')
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.
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.
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?
“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.
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.
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