Italy scientists say they have found oldest human blood

By REUTERS
May 2, 2012 14:50

 
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ROME - Scientists examining the remains of "Otzi," Italy's prehistoric iceman who roamed the Alps some 5,300 years ago, said on Thursday they have isolated what are believed to be the oldest traces of human blood ever found.

The German and Italian scientists said they used an atomic force microscope to examine tissue sections from a wound caused by an arrow that killed the Copper Age man, who was found frozen in a glacier, and from a laceration on his right hand.

"They really looked similar to modern-day blood samples," said Professor Albert Zink, 46, the German head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy in Bolzano, the capital of Italy's German-speaking Alto-Adige region.

"So far, this is the clearest evidence of the oldest blood cells," he said by telephone, adding that the new technique might now be used to examine mummies from Egypt.

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