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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: World's Oldest Blood Cells Found on Iceman
1 May 2012 7:01 pm
When Ötzi the Iceman was alive 5300 years ago, eating ibex and deer and traipsing over the Alps, his veins pulsed with blood. But when Ötzi's frozen, mummified body was discovered in 1991, his vessels were empty; scientists assumed his blood had degraded over time. Now, a team of researchers has zoomed in on two spots on the Iceman's body: a shoulder wound found with an embedded arrowhead and a hand lesion resembling a stab wound. The scientists used atomic force microscopy, a visualization method with resolution of less than a nanometer, to scan the wounds for blood residue. They discovered red blood cells (inset)—the oldest in the world to be found intact—as well as fibrin, a protein needed for blood to clot, they report today in Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The presence of fibrin indicates that Ötzi didn't die immediately after being wounded. Next, the researchers plan to study the blood cells for changes in molecular structure due to dehydration and aging. Such analyses could help forensic experts pick up on more subtle changes that reveal the age of younger blood cells, such as those from crime scenes.
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