An injury to the head, not an arrow wound, may have killed Ötzi the Iceman, the 5,300-year-old mummy found in the Italian Alps, says a new paleoproteomic study into the brain of Europe's oldest natural human mummy.
The protein investigation appears to support a 2007 research into the mummy's brain. The study pointed to a cerebral trauma as the cause of death.
At that time, the research relied on a CAT scan of the mummy's brain, which showed two dark-colored areas at the back of the cerebrum. The injury added to the already known arrowhead wound on the shoulder and wounds on the hand.
NEWS: Iceman Lived a While After Arrow Wound
Found in Ötzi's left shoulder in 2001, the stone arrowhead has long been thought to have caused the prehistoric man's death, fatally severing his left subclavian artery.
The 2007 study suggested that blood loss from the arrow wound would have first made Ötzi lose consciousness, with death coming later, from a violent blow to the head.
Either the man's killer gave Ötzi the final whack, possibly by hitting him with a stone, or he could have fallen over backwards and hit his head on a rock, the researchers concluded.