National Geographic : 2011 Nov
• less invasive explorations of the remains were conducted there, including x-ray and CT scan imaging studies and an analysis of the mummy's mitochondrial DNA. e most astonishing rev- elation came in 2001, when a local radiologist named Paul Gostner noticed a detail that had been overlooked in the images: an arrowhead buried in the Iceman's le shoulder, indicating that he had been shot from behind. Later work by Gostner and his colleagues with more power- ful CT imaging devices revealed that the arrow had pierced a major artery in the thoracic cav- ity, causing a hemorrhage that would have been almost immediately fatal. e oldest accidentally preserved human ever found was the victim of a brutally e cient murder. Other scientists lled in biographical details. Analysis of chemical traces in his bones and teeth indicated that Ötzi, as he is also called, grew up northeast of Bolzano, possibly in the Isarco River Valley, and spent his adulthood in the Venosta Valley. Pollen found in his body placed his nal hours in the springtime, and his last hike probably along a path up the Senales Val- ley toward an alpine pass just west of the Simi- laun Glacier. Close examination of his hand revealed a partially healed injury, suggestive of a defensive wound from an earlier fight. DNA analysis of food remnants found in his intestines---his stomach appeared to be emp- ty---indicated that sometime before he met his demise, he had eaten red meat and some sort of wheat. Putting these facts together, scien- tists theorized that adversaries had an alterca- tion with the Iceman in the valley south of the pass, chased him, and caught up with him on the mountain, where the body was discovered more than 5,000 years later. It was a good story that fit the evidence--- until Gostner took a closer look at the Iceman's guts. Though he had retired, the radiologist kept studying the CT scans at home as a kind of hobby, and in 2009 he became convinced that scientists had mistaken the Iceman's empty colon for his stomach, which had been pushed up under n Society Grant The Iceman's autopsy was funded in part by your National Geographic Society membership.