Iceman clothing
Uwe Anspach/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

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Ötzi the Iceman had some wild clothes

Two decades ago, a pair of tourists discovered a 5300-year-old mummy preserved in an alpine glacier on the border between Austria and Italy. The so-called Iceman, nicknamed Ötzi, was unearthed wearing leather clothing, carrying a leather quiver, and sporting a fur hat. But the materials were so degraded that it was difficult to tell where most of them had come from. Now, a team of scientists has used DNA sequencing to determine what animals provided Iceman with his clothes. Mitochondrial DNA from nine samples showed that Ötzi’s getup consisted of hides from five different species: goat leather leggings, a sheep hide loincloth, a roe deer quiver, cattle hide shoelaces, a brown bear fur hat, and a heavy coat made of goat and sheep hides haphazardly stitched together. People from Ötzi’s time and place were thought to be farmers, so leather made of livestock skins fits in with that picture, the researchers write today in Scientific Reports. The bear and deer skins show how Iceman and his people also relied on wild animals to craft their garments and tools.