Bacteria Trouble for Oetzi, the Iceman
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BACTERIA TROUBLE FOR OETZI
May 28, 2005
Oetzi, the world¹s oldest and best-preserved mummy may be at risk of
deteriorating, as is indicated by suspicious gray spots that have shown up
on recent X-Rays.
Oetzi¹s official caretaker, Eduard Egarter Vigl states, "We noticed that
these spots change aspect over time, and this would indicate the formation
of air or gas bubbles in the tibia, and we know that gas is produced by
Egarter Vigl had suggested that a needle biopsy be performed in order to
analyze the bubbles. His concern is that this strain of bacteria could
damage the mummy.
Another factor is that Oetzi is dehydrating dangerously, loosing weight by
water evaporation despite being housed in a refrigerated cell in the South
Tyrolean Museum in Bolzano, Italy, that creates the exact conditions of the
Similaun Glacier, where Oetzi was discovered in 1991 by hiker Helmut Simon
of Germany in a melting glacier in the Oetzal Alps. Oetzi is also being
vaporized every two to three months with sterilized water in an effort to
stabilize and preserve the three-dimensional structure of proteins and fats
that are still present and intact.
Oetzi may have died at the hands of one or more assailants at the age of
about 45, in what is thought to have been a violent hand to hand battle, and
ultimately resulting in his being wounded by an arrowhead to the ribcage
that had rendered him cold, hungry and in pain. Frightened and alone, he
fled up the mountain in search of safety until he collapsed from loss of
blood, and was caught in a storm where he lay at 10,000 feet. DNA other than
that of his own were found on Oetzi¹s clothing.
Local officials have dismissed the idea of any further invasive biopsies, as
was the decision they had made 4 years ago.
Oetzi has suffered for 5,300 years. It is time we left him to have some
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