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?
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