Scientists Recover World Oldest Blood Cells from Iceman Mummy

Posted by on May 2nd, 2012

_Iceman_ mummy holds world_s oldest blood cells - Technology & science - Science - LiveScience -

He lived. He ate deer meat. He took an arrow to the shoulder and died.

That was roughly 5,300 years ago for the corpse they call Ötzi. Hikers found his body in the Alps in 1991. But only now did scientists realize he brought us an amazing gift: the world’s oldest recovered completed blood cells.

To confirm the finding, the researchers used a technique called Ramen spectroscopy, which uses light-scattering patterns to determine which molecules are present in a sample. The suspected blood cells had all the markers of true red blood cells, including hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood.

While other researchers have attempted to identify blood on older stone tools, this is the oldest definite confirmation of blood, Zink said. The find may help advance forensic science, because current crime-scene technology has trouble differentiating between old and new blood, he said.

Ötzi. If only all 45-year-old murder victims could be so ambitious.


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