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Posts tagged "alps"

Nearly 1,500 years ago a massive flood in Geneva reportedly swept away everything in its path—mills, houses, cattle, even entire churches.

Now researchers believe they’ve found the unlikely sounding culprit: a tsunami-like killer wave in the Alps. The threat, they add, may still be very much alive.

Spurred by a huge landslide, the medieval Lake Geneva “tsunami” (technically defined as a seismic ocean wave) swamped the city, which was already a trading hub, according to a new study.

Far from any ocean, the massive wave was likely generated by a massive landslide into the Rhône River, which feeds and flows through Lake Geneva, according to a group of Swiss researchers. Read more.

Oetzi, the 5,300-year-old “Iceman” mummy of the Alps, lived for some time after being shot in the back by an arrow, scientists said on Tuesday after using forensic technology to analyse his preserved blood.

Contrary to a leading theory, Oetzi did not expire immediately from his wounds, they reported in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, published by Britain’s academy of sciences.

Scientists led by Albert Zink of the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, southern Germany used nano-scale methods to probe the oldest blood known to modern science, preserved by thousands of years of alpine chill.

Using a so-called atomic force microscope able to resolve images just a few nanometers (billionths of a metre) across, they identified corpuscles with the classic doughtnut shape of healthy blood cells.

"To be absolutely sure that we were not dealing with pollen, bacteria or even a negative imprint of a blood cell, but indeed with actual blood cells, we used a second analytical method," Zink said. Read more.

The world’s most famous frozen corpse has had his genome sequenced. An international team has today published the almost complete DNA sequence of Ötzi the Tyrolean Iceman in Nature Communications, and has found clues as to the whereabouts of his closest living relations.

Hikers discovered Ötzi’s 5,300-year-old body in the Alps near the Italian–Austrian border in 1991. It was well preserved, and has become one of the most studied cadavers in science. Researchers have already discovered that Ötzi suffered from hardened arteries and tooth cavities, bore tattoos and gorged on ibex before dying with an arrow lodged in his back — but there is still more information to be gained from his body. 

We would like to know as much as possible about his living conditions, about himself and also his cause of death. Read more.

Twenty years ago Monday, a German couple hiking the Italian Alps veered off a marked footpath and stumbled upon one of the world’s oldest and most important archeological finds: Oetzi, “The Iceman”.

Oetzi fast became a sensation, not just because he proved to be more than 5,000 years old, but because his remains were so well-preserved, allowing paleontologists to uncover new details about the Stone Age in Europe.

On September 19, 1991, Helmut and Erika Simon from Nuremburg were hiking at an altitude of 3,210 meters (10,500 feet) in the Italy’s South Tyrol alps, according to an account published online by the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology.

Toward the end of a hot summer, much of the ice and snow had melted. Protruding out of a icy patch, face down on exposed rock and embedded in a gully, they noticed what looked like the top half of a human corpse. Read more.

Missing until 2009, mummy’s stomach found to contain lumps of last meal.

Hours before he died, “Ötzi” the Iceman gorged on the fatty meat of a wild goat, according to a new analysis of the famous mummy’s stomach contents.

The frozen body of the Copper Age hunter was discovered in 1991 in the Alps of northern Italy, where he died some 5,000 years ago.

The circumstances surrounding Ötzi’s death are not fully known, but the most popular theory—based in part on the discovery of an arrowhead in his back—is that he was murdered by other hunters while fleeing through the mountains.

Scientists previously analyzed the contents of Ötzi’s lower intestine and determined that he ate a meal of grains along with possibly cooked red deer and goat meat up to 30 hours before his death.

But attempts using an endoscopic tool to sample Ötzi’s stomach were unsuccessful.

The reason for the failure became clear in 2009, when scientists studying CAT scans of Ötzi discovered that the Iceman’s stomach had shifted upward after death, to where the lower part of his lungs would normally be. Read more.