The oldest red blood cells ever identified have been found in the body of Ötzi the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old mummy found in the Alps in 1991. The bloody find is a first for Ötzi's mummy, which has been under scientific scrutiny since a pair of hikers stumbled over the body frozen in ice on the Austrian-Italian border. And the new research, published today (May 1) in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, helps confirm the story of Ötzi's death. The Iceman was so well preserved that scientists could estimate his age (about 45), his health, his last meals (they included red deer meat with herb bread) and even his probable cause of death, an arrow wound to the shoulder that sliced an artery. But no one had ever found blood cells in the ancient man's corpse. Albert Zink, a biological anthropologist at the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano, was the leader of the study that uncovered the elusive cells. "It was very surprising, because we didn't really expect to find compete red blood cells," Zink said. "We hoped to find maybe some remnants or shrunken red blood cells, but these are looking like a modern-day sample; the dimensions are the same." Full article here.