World’s Oldest Blood Found


The world’s oldest known blood cells have been found on Ötzi the Iceman, according to the latest research on the 5,300-year-old mummy.

What’s more, the discovery proves that the Stone Age homicide victim had a quick, if not painless, death.

Ötzi has been the subject of extensive postmortem investigations ever since his corpse was discovered in an Alpine glacier on the Austrian-Italian border in 1991. (Read “Iceman Autopsy” in National Geographic magazine.)

No blood residue had previously been detected, however, despite various studies detailing his violent death due to an arrow shot and other injuries.

“There were no [blood] traces found, even when they opened some arteries, so it was thought maybe the blood had not preserved and had completely degraded, or that he lost too much blood because of the arrow injury” on his back, said team member Albert Zink, head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy.

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