Although the Iceman's
body was in bad shape when it was discovered, he was in relatively
good condition before his final day of life...for a man of his age and time
Scientists have studied
his body, inside and out, to discover that he was about 5 feet 2
inches tall when he died. However, his body had shrunk over the 5,300
years, and he had lost a few inches when he was discovered.
about 110 pounds at death, though again he lost considerable weight
afterwards. Today, according to scientists, his mummified body weighs
only about 29 pounds.
When he died, he was
about 45 years old, an age that not many at this time attained.
During their scientific
studies, researchers found a number of problems that the Iceman faced:
1. He had whipworm
parasite eggs in his colon. This means that Ötzi had a fairly
severe intestinal disorder which would have caused diarrhea or
2. He had fleas, or so said scientist Konrad
Spindler, in an interview with
the Austrian Press Agency. According to Spindler, recent testing revealed
the presence of two fleas in the Iceman's clothing. Spindler said that
fleas have previously been traced back only to the 5th or 6th Century B.C.
3. His right hip
joint showed signs of aging (it had a small fracture typical of what
happens after a lifetime of wear and tear).
4. His body showed
signs of healed fractures (ribs and nose).
5. His fingernails
showed signs of stress during the last few months of his life.
6. His lungs were
discolored by the residue from smoky fires.
The good news is that
his dentist (had he had one) would have been pleased: he showed no
sign of tooth decay whatsoever, only substantial wear from eating
flour that was not finely milled.
And oddly enough, they
discovered two peculiarities during their examinations. First, Ötzi
had no wisdom teeth. Second, he was missing his twelfth pair of
Finally, a note about his skin and
hair. His body was naturally "scalped" by the process of
mummification. The upper layer of skin including most of his hair had
peeled right off the body during the time that he was in the ice.
Though he had a full head of hair, it was not found attached to the