In 1991, a group of hikers exploring the Ötztal Alps on the Austrian-Italian border came across the mummified corpse of a person half-entombed in ice. Because the find was at an elevation of 10,530 feet, the group initially suspected that the remains belonged to a lost mountaineer. Local officials brought in to examine the scene further floated the possibility that it was the body of an Italian solider lost during one of the World Wars.
Only after archaeologists had a chance to examine Otzi, so-named for the mountain range where he was discovered, did the stunning truth of his age come to light. Using radiocarbon dating, scientists determined that he had perished in the Alps an astounding 5,300 years earlier. The preservation from the ice pocket he fell into was so thorough that his brain, internal organs, penis, pubic hair and one of his eyeballs were all completely intact.
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