Scientists find 19 living relatives of ancient "Iceman"

Vienna, Oct 17 (EFE).- Ötzi the Iceman, the mummy found preserved in an alpine glacier 5,300 years after his death, has 19 living relatives in Austria's Tyrol region.

"The Iceman and these 19 people have a common ancestor," Walther Parson, a researcher at the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Innsbruck, told Efe.

A vacationing couple from Germany found the mummy in 1991 and he was dubbed Ötzi after the name of the surrounding area.

The study of the Iceman, who was around 46 when he died, provided a treasure-trove of biological and historical data on the Bronze Age.

Parson said the genetic link between the Iceman and his present-day kin emerged by chance in the course of research on the history of human settlement in the Tyrolean Alps.

Comparison of DNA samples from 3,713 Tyrol residents and the Iceman showed that 19 living Tyroleans shared a common ancestor with the Iceman.

That common ancestor probably lived some 10,000 years ago, Parson said.

Because the donors provided DNA samples anonymously, they cannot be told of their relationship to the Iceman.