Ice Man 'a European'

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The Independent Online
SCIENTISTS have analysed 5,000-year-old fragments of genetic material from the mummified body of the Ice Man discovered in the Tyrolean Alps in 1991. They found he was a true European, writes Steve Connor.

Tiny scraps of DNA taken from the corpse show that the late Neolithic man is related to modern north Europeans. The scientists said the research rules out suggestions that the Ice Man is a sophisticated hoax.

Some newspapers in Germany suggested the corpse was an ancient mummy that hoaxers had brought to the Alps from South America. But the scientists said the DNA analysis showed this is highly unlikely because the Ice Man is genetically unrelated to anyone not of European descent.

Two groups of researchers in Munich and Oxford independently read the genetic code of the Ice Man's DNA and found it is the same as the genetic code found in people who live north of the Alps, such as the Germans, Swiss and Icelanders.

Scientists led by Svante Paab, of the University of Munich, managed to extract a special form of DNA from the corpse of the Ice Man that is only inherited maternally. Their findings are published in the Science journal.