Skip to comments.Alpine ice man may have been childless outcast
Posted on 02/03/2006 6:43:25 PM PST by presidio9
Stone Age man found frozen in the Alps some 5,300 years after he was murdered under mysterious circumstances may have been a childless social outcast, a new study showed.
Italian anthropologist Franco Rollo studied fragments of the DNA belonging to Oetzi, as the mummy has come to be known, and found two typical mutations common among men with reduced sperm mobility, the museum that stores the "iceman" said.
A high percentage of men with such a condition are sterile.
"Insofar as the 'iceman' was found to possess both mutations, the possibility that he was unable to father offspring cannot be eliminated," the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in the Alpine town of Bolzano said in a statement.
"This not improbable hypothesis raises new questions concerning his social rank within his society," it added, arguing that the new evidence supported a theory that viewed the man as a social outcast.
Hikers discovered Oetzi in the mountains between Italy and Austria in 1991.
In 2001, scientists found an arrowhead in the iceman's shoulder blade, and tests revealed blood from four different people on his clothes and a cut in his hand, possibly from a fight.
Medicine in the man's pockets and sophisticated weapons seemed to indicate that he was a shaman or a chieftain, and one theory says Oetzi was the victim of a power struggle in his own tribe. A rival theory proposes the opposite -- that he was a reject.
Rollo, a researcher at the University of Camerino in Italy, was also able to assign the mummy's DNA to one of the basic groups of human DNA historically occurring in Europe.
His basic DNA resembles that of the Ladines, an ethnic group still living in the region today, and that of residents of the Oetztal valley where he was found, the museum said.
Rollo's latest research findings will be published in February's edition of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
He was probably gay and it was a hate crime.
He should of worn his shorts looser.
The poor man has been dead for 5300 years. Enough already!
Sure are creating a scenario out of the flimsiest of data. He was sterile and from there we deduce he was an outcast and murdered?
Lots of speculation here. He was shot with an arrow and died in the snow. He was sterile. That's really all they can deduce with any degree of certainty.
That he was driven out or killed because he was sterile is sheer speculation.
Really. We don't need to know this. Let him RIP.
No. An arrowhead was found in his back. It's likely he was attacked.
The four different blood types and samples found on him along with the arrowhead in his back suggests he had a rough last few minutes. Some one or some number wanted him dead.
No, I am not disputing he was murdered. I am questioning how the jump to the conclusion he was murdered because he was sterile and therefore an outcast. Maybe he was murdered because he stole things, or he raped someone, or he cast a really bad spell on a villager.
The blood samples were found on his clothing. "Scientists" have no way of determining when they got there? These people hunted to live. With stone weapons. And they typically owned one outfit. It would be suprising if he DIDN'T have multiple blood samples on his clothing.
Maybe he lied about whether the neighboring tribe had weapons of mass destruction.
They didn't have pockets back then. Also, you don't get sophisticated weapons if your an outcast. Someone else makes them, usually the lady(s) of the lodge. Having the blood of 4 people on his clothes means he was a great warrior. Since he was found alone, he was probably killed raiding another camp, or was jumped for the procedes of his hunt.
Looks like a classic "cold case" file to me.
Human and animal blood can be distinguished, but I'm not sure if that's possible after 5000 years.
Let's assume that they can prove it is human blood. Given the nature of life back then, there is no way to make the jump to "he was murdered."
Are they trying to find next of kin to tell them their father/husband/son is dead?
Hey, the ice man was cold. Haven't these scientists ever heard of shrinkage?
No condoms in his pocket?
Seems to indicate??? Whoa, whoa, whoa... Slow down... How do they know he wasn't a common bandit who robbed and murdered a shaman and then was himself tracked down and killed by angry townscavepeople? Or how do they know he didn't legitimately acquire those items through trade or something? Too many logical leaps of faith for me.
Archeology tells us mostly whatever we want to believe. For a long time people believed that pottery was an extremely important Greek art, until somebody realized that pottery was the only Greek art form likely to survive in significant quantities.
The speculation here is almost as bad as those Discovery channel shows on dinosaurs that try to tell us how they looked, sounded, acted, etc. based on nothing other than bones. And I just love how the scientists speak with such authority and they really have no idea what they are talking about.
You're right. In the old days, we could just meet the bad guy outside the city limits!
(it added, arguing that the new evidence supported a theory that viewed the man as a social outcast.)
They found a DNC card on him.
He could have been an avid rock collector. And a lover of poetry.
Another perfect example of post traumatic stress. This man was my great x 200 grandfather. His inability to produce offspring has created terrible problems for me. Just like to ancestors of slavery, I am desperately in need of therapy to overcome the stress of being born of a childless great x grandfather.
I agree. As a kid, I was absolutely fascinated with looking a Egyptian mummies in the museum. But after a while, I realized they were real people. Today when I see them I want to say let these people rest in peace. Yes, it's ok to "study" their corpses for a while to gain understanding of the past, but they should not be display items like a painting. They were human beings, not artifacts.
I think it's time to give this "Ice Man" a decent burial that any human deserves.
Just my quirky feelings, I guess.
You shouldn't be complaining. You shouldn't exist!
I just can't believe that I sat there and watched the whole thing. I have no life.
He was mugged on his way home from the big game.
This is probably my number one reason for preferring cremation. I'd really hate to think that my remains might escape the complete decaying process with all the Sure-jell they inject ya with in the funeral homes.
He wasn't much of a chick magnet, I'd say.
He was probably an infidel cartoonist.
Man! If it wasn't embarassing enough back then, they have to announce it to the world again....
"Dang! I'm really, really late!"
"..may have been a childless social outcast.."
Sure, and he may have been the first Maytag repair man. These wacko psychobabble practitioners kill me.
This man was my great x 200 grandfather. His inability to produce offspring has created terrible problems for me.
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·
The American Museum of Natural History in New York used to have an exhibit with a mummified Peruvian, apparently a copper miner, in a block of copper ore, encased in Plexiglas. They didn't give you any warning, you just turned a corner in an obscure section of the Central American section and came face to face with the poor guy. His hair was in perfect condition and his skin only slightly yellowed. I remember running into him when I was about 14 and feeling slight pangs of guilt and very little morbid curiosity. I hate to sound politically correct, but I was somewhat relieved about twenty years later when the wave of third world sensibility forced them to take him off display.
In those days, before the Government of Egypt made a major dump on the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum was the go to place for Egyptology. They did not, however, exhibit mummies, only wonderful artifacts and sarcophagi and coffins.
No, you were reinforcing your understanding that much scientific speculation concerning the distant past is just that, speculation. It is usually speculation built upon very flimsy evidence. Given a little time and slogging around in the system the flimsy speculation will most likely be reported as near fact or even fact.
You’re welcome from 2 years ago, Civ.
My theory is that because of his widely known sterility, he was a renowned sportf-——r of the Alps.
He was chased into the Alpine pass by an irate husband and his kin who’d found him in his wife’s boudoir.
He woulda made it, despite the wounds, except for the sudden blizzard.
This is a valid archeological theory based on evidence.
Anything for an academic fight. About on the same level as pinheads and dancing angels.
Just as likely he was a battle casualty, shot in the back, either from ambush, or while fleeing in retreat/covering a retreat. No where near enough data to even begin to make real assertions.
"Murder" is a cultural/judicial construct*; "violent death", and "homicide" are neutral terms that don't depend upon motivational deductions 5,300 years removed. We know nothing of the actual circumstances of his death, as to who was the aggressor; nor why; nor who his opponents even were.
Even the "sterility" claim is, though highly likely, speculative, as not ALL with the mutations who suffer low sperm motility are 100% sterile. DNA tests, in some cases have proved paternity by the affected male.
In addition, most ancient societies typically put the onus of no offspring upon the female...unless (but not even always then) she had reproduced previously.
*God's explicit prohibition wasn't formally handed down until approx 1,700 B.C., when The Law was handed down at Mount Sinai. Also, Biblically speaking, murder referred to premeditated, unlawful homicide, i.e. "lying in wait". Note that it exempted the "Avenger of Blood" (hence the Sanctuary Cities) for seeking righteous retribution, among other sanctioned deaths we would now refer to as murder.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.