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The famous 5,300 year old corpse has more stories to tell, and it was found that Otzi the Iceman’s maternal line is gone, which might reveal a few more clues on how his parents met. The mummified corpse is one of the most studied in the world, with new details uncovered, and more research conducted every day.
Otzi was 5’2”, tattooed and 46 years old at his time of death
Otzi the Iceman was first discovered in 1991 by a group of German hikers along the mountains between Austria and Italy. After an extensive analysis of his body, it was found that the corpse was 5,300 years old, lived in the Copper Age and was brutally murdered. In fact, scientists discovered his body had several injuries, fractures, brain damage, and likely died from an arrowhead hitting his subclavial artery.
However, that was only the beginning of the mystery. Researchers only have estimations as to why Otzi was left to die alone on a mountain. They suggested that he may have been a warrior killed in a skirmish by a rival tribe, or that he was murdered after being separated from his original tribe. He was also predisposed to heart problems, was lactose intolerant, infested with a parasite, arthritic, and likely infected with Lyme disease.
His lineage has gained the interest of experts. The team of researchers conducted more DNA tests, and found that while his paternal lineage is still present in modern day Europe, his maternal lineage, called K1f, is gone. Their observations were made after studying around 1,000 modern samples of DNA with K1. Among them, 42 samples actually originated in the Italian Alps where the body was found.
The observation brought forth the question of why his maternal lineage is gone. According to examinations made on his Y chromosome, transmitted from father to son, Otzi’s father was likely a native of Central Europe. It’s most closely related to farmers in Bulgaria and Sweden, which enforced the notion that Otzi’s father came from a long line of travelling farmers. And this may be how his parents met.
The maternal lineage appears to have kept itself restricted and originated into the eastern Italian Alps at least 5,300 years ago. That means that Otzi’s parents likely met within the mountains, with his travelling father venturing through and meeting the mother in the picturesque mountainside. It might not be the romance of the ages, but it does share an insight into the genetic lineage and how the population might have spread throughout Europe.
There are more questions about Otzi, and likely numerous more will be answered in the future. However, it seems that his maternal lineage has likely gone extinct while his father’s is present today.
Image source: discovermagazine.com