Friday, March 22, 2024

Otzi the Iceman's Ancestry

In the article by Science News, new forthcomings about Otzi's DNA have given rise to more questions than answers. I loved watching videos about these human remains when I was younger. Forgotten remains found as the ice melted, or even out in swampy areas, preserved for years and extensively researched. Otzi was found in South Tyrol when he was shot with an arrow and murdered, but the ice naturally preserved his body for 5,300 years.

In the article, their first major understanding is that Otzi's skin is darker than they first thought. Since humans originated from Africa light-skinned traits took thousands of years to formate. Light-skin genetic changes are only 3000-4000 years old when the movement to areas with less sun and different diets changed the need for vitamin D.  About 90% of Otzi's heritage is from Neolithic farmers and not the steppe they once thought. His remains were heavily contaminated by those who found his remains hence the issues with the original ancestry formed until recently. They even discovered he had a genetic marker for male-patterned-baldness. 

I believe that the opportunity to study these types of remains from long ago allows us to better understand how far current genetics have evolved. Studying Otzi has raised questions about the evolution of skin color traits, and physical looks, even possibly tracing where male-patterned baldness originated. Maybe in the future, more human remains preserved for several thousand years will surface and bring more answers to light.


No comments:

Post a Comment