Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ancient Iceman Probably Has No Descendants or Relatives

The famous iceman of Italy has some new news. He may have no relatives in the modern world. It appears his particular DNA is now extinct. An article at Yahoo! titled Ancient iceman probably has no modern relatives has the details.

It notes:

"Otzi," Italy's prehistoric iceman, probably does not have any modern day descendants, according to a study published Thursday.

A team of Italian and British scientists who sequenced his mitochondrial DNA -- which is passed down through the mother's line -- found that Otzi belonged to a genetic lineage that is either extremely rare or has died out.

Otzi's 5,300-year-old corpse was found frozen in the Tyrolean Alps in 1991.

"Our research suggests that Otzi's lineage may indeed have become extinct," Martin Richards of Leeds University in Britain, who worked on the study, said in a statement.

The Wikpedia article on Ötzi the Iceman writes, "Ötzi the Iceman (pronounced [ˈœtsi], Frozen Fritz, and Similaun Man are modern nicknames of a well-preserved natural mummy of a man from about 3300 BC (53 centuries ago),[1] found in 1991 in the Schnalstal glacier in the Ötztal Alps, near Hauslabjoch on the border between Austria and Italy. The nickname comes from Ötztal, the region in which he was discovered. He is Europe's oldest natural human mummy, and has offered an unprecedented view of Chalcolithic (Copper Age) Europeans."

Evidence shows that the iceman died from an arrow wound. It is possible that he died as a result of warfare. Perhaps this same war resulted eventually in the genocide of his relatives? It is impossible to tell but I find it interesting that none of his relatives are appearing in DNA today.

2 comments:

rumcrook said...

I had a rottwieller I named otzie, he was a good dog...

I have been fascinated by this poor guy since they found him, especially when they discovered he had been shot with an arrow and his death wasnt accidental it was a 5000 year old murder mystery.

it actually makes me kind of sad that he may be the last of his people.

Anonymous said...

Its surviaval of the fittest out there. But seriously it would be cool to see Otzi the iceman on a family tree.