8. Otzi the Iceman
This ancient ice-corpse was discovered with perfectly preserved blood – the oldest in the world.
In 1991, a group of hikers were trekking in the mountains of Austria when they came across an awful sight: a frozen body was buried in the ice at their feet. That body belonged to a 5,300 year old man, later dubbed “Otzi the Iceman”. By studying the body, scientists have been able to discover some surprisingly specific facts. When he was alive, he had parasites in his intestines, was lactose intolerant, and had been sick three times in the past six months. But his death seems to have been caused by an arrow wound to his back – leading some scientists to believe that he was chased across the mountains.
The most important find was not the body itself, but what was still inside it: Otzi’s blood cells were so well preserved that they look almost exactly like modern day blood samples. This makes it the world’s oldest blood – which teaches us a lot about the lifestyle of ancient man.