Ötzi the Iceman froze to death | Science News

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Ötzi the Iceman froze to death

New analyses of mummy show head knocks, arrow wound not lethal

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5:47pm, April 21, 2017
 Ötzi the Tyrolean Iceman

DEEP FREEZE  Ötzi the Tyrolean Iceman, shown here at a research center, died of exposure to cold temperatures in the Italian Alps, a new study concludes. Shoulder and head injuries may have made it difficult for the Copper Age hunter-gatherer to get around but that’s not what killed him, researchers say.

NEW ORLEANS — Ever since Ötzi’s mummified body was found in the Italian Alps in 1991, researchers have been trying to pin down how the 5,300-year-old Tyrolean Iceman died. It now looks like this Copper Age hunter-gatherer simply froze to death, perhaps after suffering minor blood loss from an arrow wound to his left shoulder, anthropologist Frank Rühli of the University of Zurich reported April 20 at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

“Freezing to death is quite likely the main cause of death in this classic cold case,” Rühli said. Ötzi succumbed to exposure within anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, he estimated.

New analyses of the Iceman’s body, based on X-rays and CT scans, argue against the idea that Ötzi died from a stone arrowhead shot into his shoulder (SN: 9/6/14, p. 6).

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