Colon moss solves mystery of Otzi the iceman
Scientists have been able to figure out the final journey of a 5300-year-old corpse found in the Alps, based on the remarkably well-preserved contents of his colon.
Otzi the Iceman became a scientific marvel when the body was found by mountain climbers on the Italy-Austria border in 1991.
While his contemporaries are little more than skeletons, Otzi was so well-preserved that his clothes, gear and even the contents of his stomach are available to scrutinise. And it is the latter that led scientists to a breakthrough published this week.
Researchers from the University of Glasgow found that bog moss found in Otzi's colon probably came from the Vinschgau Valley in South Tyrol, Italy.
The discovery has led scientists to conclude Otzi was running for his life at the time of his death.
The bog moss was commonly used for staunching wounds, and may have been used to treat a deep cut to his hand in the days before his death.
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The fact the moss does not grow at the altitude his body was found meant he likely travelled at speed up a gorge to get to what became his final resting place.
"It seems puzzling that he took the most stressful track through a gorge, but considering scenarios that he was on the run, a gorge provided most opportunities to hide," the University of Glasgow study reads.
Otzi likely died from blood loss from being hit in the shoulder by an arrow.