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Science

Oldest Intact Red Blood Cells Found on Iceman 104

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the next-on-discovery-cloning-the-iceman dept.
sciencehabit writes "A team of researchers has zoomed in on two spots on the body of the Iceman, a mummified, 5300-year-old hunter found frozen in the Alps in 1991: a shoulder wound found with an embedded arrowhead and a hand lesion resembling a stab wound. The scientists used atomic force microscopy, a visualization method with resolution of less than a nanometer, to scan the wounds for blood residue. They discovered red blood cells — the oldest in the world to be found intact — as well as fibrin, a protein needed for blood to clot. The presence of fibrin indicates that the Iceman, nicknamed Ötzi, didn't die immediately after being wounded."
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Oldest Intact Red Blood Cells Found on Iceman

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:21AM (#39869229)

    Scan reveal Ötzi asshole who no respected bro?

    • Scan reveal Ötzi asshole who no respected bro?

      Funny, but based on a "Flintstones" understanding of neolithic humans. Recent research suggests hunter-gatherers generally have and had little concept of monogamy as we know it. Check out Sex at Dawn: http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Dawn-Stray-Modern-Relationships/dp/0061707813/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335976553&sr=8-1 [amazon.com]

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Monogamy is relativity new. A few hundred years old. There is a reason the penis is shaped in such way as to try to remove semen from a previous mate before ejaculating.

        • by rilian4 (591569)

          Monogamy is relativity new. A few hundred years old.

          Your ignorance of history is astounding. Even if you choose not to follow what it teaches, the Bible has taught Monogamy for several thousand years. The Apostle Paul's letters on the subject date back to the first century and the Ten Commandments(Do not commit adultery) to before 1000 BC.

          • by PRMan (959735)
            Moses is closer to 1500 BC. It would be interesting to do a DNA search to see how many mutations he has in his DNA. I think Genetics gives a much more scientific and reliable date than radiometric dates, which are shown to be wrong on materials with known dates.
          • ...except that adultery only seemed to apply if the female was married. The Bible mentions that David had quite a few concubines when he moved into the house of Jerusalem.

            Not that I disagree that monogamy has been preached and practiced for more than just a few hundred years....

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            Even if you choose not to follow what it teaches, the Bible has taught Monogamy for several thousand years.

            And people have been ignoring it just as long.

            Which may or may not suggest that from a biological perspective, monogamy is a purely social construct. Quite possibly one which doesn't work so well.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        A link to Amazon.com is useless as a citation here, so do you mind explaining how they could possibly know the sex habits of people who all died before the invention of writing?

        BTW, the book you linked was written by a psychologist, not a paleontologist. So the guy has no more credibility in that field than you do. Sorry, but your citation is even worse than at first glance.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It struck me as off-topic to go into great detail, but since you insist, their argument rests on many pillars. For example, there is (as mentioned in another post) the shape of the human penis. There is also the size of the male testicles. Both of these point to high rates of sperm competition, and are not seen in more monogamous species. There is also anthropological research on current hunter-gather societies, where group sex and shared parentage are common. As a professional historian (no, really) I appr

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        Recent research suggests hunter-gatherers generally have and had little concept of monogamy as we know it.

        I can believe that, but I don't believe for a second that they didn't have the concept of jealousy.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      There was a big protest yesterday, and I could help but notice the number of business men, and elderly who where involved.

      Just sayin' that maybe you should actually talk to them instead of just watch the nut jobs the media puts on the air?

  • Excellent! (Score:5, Funny)

    by DWMorse (1816016) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:26AM (#39869341) Homepage
    Now we can clone this caveman creature, on a private island, with a theme park tourist-attraction setting! Spare no expense, of course!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      all they do is truck oxygen around until they are absorbed and eliminated. Nothing to clone. Useful if you want to give them a coating to attract and leach out viruses, too, since such viruses cant do anything once they land in one.

    • Although RBCs don't have any DNA on-board, just about every other cell does - so it's a question of quality if you want to resurrect a clone. But why? He's anatomically a modern human. If you were going to clone him why not yourself? ;)
      • by hackula (2596247)
        We need to clone him, let him grow to an adult, stab him with a spear, and then put the clone back into the ice. Leave no trace!
        • by geekmux (1040042)

          We need to clone him, let him grow to an adult, stab him with a spear, and then put the clone back into the ice. Leave no trace!

          Following that logic, what makes you think this has not already happened before...how do we know we're not working with a clone already?

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Because if you clone a 'caveman' you will have a lot less outrages then if you did it with a 'normal' person. Mostly because the people who are against it are idiots.

        • The people who are against human cloning happen to be the people who believe that "cavemen" were just as human as you or I.

        • by tibman (623933)

          mmm, i wouldn't say "they" are against cloning people because of stupidity. It's more like they are against unregulated cloning specifically. What rights does a clone have? Trying to build sane regulation for cloning would be a nightmare that no politician could navigate successfully.

          Also, it's a popular viewpoint that anything sub-human is ok to experiment with. I am not ok with it, but many are. But i think cloning of people SHOULD be pursued with oversight and transparency. No clone slave armies an

          • What rights does a clone have? Trying to build sane regulation for cloning would be a nightmare that no politician could navigate successfully.

            Yes, we face that problem all the time with identical twins - deciding what rights they have is a political nightmare! The fact that clones are not just identical twins, but time-shifted identical twins makes the problem more complex than the human mind could unravel.

            • by tibman (623933)

              Way to be a dick. In this case cloning is the act of artificially creating a person.

              Also, lol! So a natural birth with identifiable mother and father is the same as a child born via a research institute? In that case, you wouldn't mind if the US gov phased out the volunteer army and gets darpa to fill the ranks via clones.

              The problem isn't just the cloning. The problem is also ownership and property. You can own a research mouse but can you do the same with a human? If every experiment results in a (h

              • So a natural birth with identifiable mother and father is the same as a child born via a research institute? In that case, you wouldn't mind if the US gov phased out the volunteer army and gets darpa to fill the ranks via clones

                Who's being a dick now? Of course you can't own a person - we settled that about 150 years ago (at least in the US; YMMV). If the darpa clones WANT to join the army, they're entitled to do so same as anyone else; if not, they can't be forced into it any more than anyone else. If you start with the common-sense premise that the rights and responsibilities of a person arise because of their personhood, and are independent of how they came to be a person, it all pretty much sorts itself out.

                Perhaps there ar

                • by tibman (623933)

                  This sounds like a good discussion :) It's difficult to hand-wave away the first 18 years though.

                  Is the company Mother and Father? Kids aren't property but their parents are responsible for them. Obviously there are already companies that raise kids (orphanages) so it is more than possible. But the difficulty lies in where the kids come from and the purpose in raising them. Is it acceptable to "brain wash" kids to worship the company? It happens everyday with normal parents and religion. Kids are pro

    • by Tyr07 (2300912)

      The power went out! The electric fences containing the cavemen are down!

    • by Walterk (124748)

      They already did that, I do believe he was POTUS for 2 terms and started wars in Iraq & Afghanistan..

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Not the movie reference I was expecting, I was expecting something more like this one.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087452/ [imdb.com]

      • by crazyjj (2598719) *

        They should build a historical themepark set in the time when Timothy Hutton was considered an A-list actor.

  • About this article. At least I'm not. Yes, they found some secondary evidence of blood cells which presumably helps forensic analysis in some unspecified way. The authors don't think Otzi exsanguinated immediately because they found, again secondary, evidence of something-that-could-be-fibrin. Fibrin is found in blood clots so they assumption is that he lived long enough for his clotting system to figure out that something bad was happening and it ought to try and do something about it.

    Although hardly a

    • by aardwolf64 (160070) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:38AM (#39869527) Homepage

      It's groundbreaking! Scientists have proved that people 5000 years ago had blood! Expect it to be in the newspaper headlines tomorrow morning...

    • Oh, and to further go into AM pedant mode - I would not characterize the RBCs found in Otzi as 'intact' using any typical definition of the word. "Not completely trashed and identifiable by complex, detailed molecular analysis" would be closer.

      • by hackula (2596247)
        I thought the same thing when I read:

        The scientists used atomic force microscopy, a visualization method with resolution of less than a nanometer, to scan the wounds for blood residue.

        I am no expert, but isn't a RBC typically visible under a standard microscope?

    • by Guppy (12314)

      So, I'm missing the point (so to speak) of this. Does forensic science care if you can find evidence of blood in a 5000 year old really, really cold case? Does this help in more contemporary case work? I'd be more impressed if they could pull off specific biochemical markers off the red cells - like blood types or similar markers.

      Already been done, Otzi was Type-O, Rh+:
      http://www.science-fare.com/article/%C3%B6tzis-entire-genome-sequenced-first-time [science-fare.com]

      Most interesting part to me was the finding that he had Lyme Disease (or something very closely related to Lyme).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You're not wrong -- you're just not completely right.

        Otzi's blood type is old news -- I wrote the story you sourced.

        But, since its publication, it's been advanced -- they actually found blood cells, not DNA telling us what kind of blood cells they'd be.

        I'm just waiting to interview Dr. Zink and I'll put a relevant story up on the site!

    • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @12:00PM (#39869869)

      Its a unique glimpse into a long vanished way of life and people, an ancient culture of which very little if anything survives today. Some of us find every little detail to be quite fascinating, and who knows, maybe we'll be able to put a few more pieces together and build a more complete picture of our ancestors.

      • by dasunt (249686)

        Its a unique glimpse into a long vanished way of life and people, an ancient culture of which very little if anything survives today. Some of us find every little detail to be quite fascinating, and who knows, maybe we'll be able to put a few more pieces together and build a more complete picture of our ancestors.

        Considering when Otzi lived, if he had any children that has present day descendants, odds are he is everyone's direct ancestor. The period of is life is before the identical ancestors point [sciencedaily.com], bef

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Does forensic science care if you can find evidence of blood in a 5000 year old really, really cold case?

      Other than the fact they've never found red blood cells that old before? Probably not.

      The point here is that they continue to uncover a wealth of information from this Iceman.

      In this case, the "crime" isn't so much important as what all they've been able to reconstruct from this body.

      Identifying clotting agents in a 5000 year old corpse is definitely getting into uncharted territory. Probably more abo

    • by tomhath (637240)

      As I read it the interesting thing is that the blood is well preserved, which implies he was frozen immediately after he died. There has been some debate over whether he died where he was found or whether he was carried there for a ritual funeral. Kind of sounds like he died pretty close to where he was found.

      It's not clear to me that he was a hunter though. There are other signs that he and some companions were in a big and bloody fight shortly before he died (I believe he had blood from other people on h

  • Iceman? (Score:4, Funny)

    by bhcompy (1877290) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:44AM (#39869607)
    Iceman isn't dead. Goose is.
    • It's not your FAULT, Maverick! Now, let's oil up and go play some volleyball. I love the way you flex when you check your watch.
    • by geekmux (1040042)

      Iceman isn't dead. Goose is.

      You sure about that? Seems Icemans career has pretty much melted away into nothingness.

  • Must be quite pissed off.
  • by bmo (77928) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @11:59AM (#39869857)

    THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FIND A STRANGER IN THE ALPS!

    --
    BMO

    Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
    Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING

  • Good news is that after waiting more than five thousand years, Ã-tzi finally was able to be seen by the ER docs for the wound in his hand and shoulder.

    Bad news is that, in the meantime, his insurance policy lapsed.

  • >didn't die immediately after being wounded."

    >a shoulder wound found ..and that implies that the shoulder of our ancestor did not have vital organs, like heart or brain.

  • But just you wait. We'll get the bastard that did this to Ötzi!

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