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Anatomical Anomalies

The research team was able to diagnose several anatomic anomalies and pathological changes in the mummy using, among other methods, modern imaging techniques.

Ötzi lacked a twelfth pair of ribs. Although this is a rare anatomical anomaly, it would not have impaired him in any way. Rib fractures were observed on both sides: while that on the right side had healed, the fractures on the left side were recent.

Did they happen in an accident shortly before the Iceman’s death? Or were they caused by the massive weight of the glacier ice bearing down on the body? The pressure of the ice is undoubtedly the cause of the deformations of the mummy’s skull.

The Iceman has a remarkable diastema, a natural gap, between his two upper incisors. Another peculiarity is his lack of wisdom teeth. The extent to which his teeth are worn down was probably caused from eating stone-ground grain containing grit. The left side of his upper jaw shows signs of considerable wear, probably due to the fact that Ötzi often used his teeth as tools for working with wood, bones, leather and sinews.