Ötzi the Iceman was discovered in 1991, protruding from a snow-bank high in the Alps near the Austrian-Italian border. His 5,300-year-old remains turned out to be so well preserved that researchers were able to construct a detailed account of his life and death. Chemical analysis of Ötzi's teeth indicates he came from the Italian side of the Alps. He had suffered during the year before his death with whipworm, a stomach parasite that was found in his digestive tract. Yet he was fit enough to climb 6,500 feet in elevation during the day or two before he met his end in a rocky alpine hollow. Ötzi apparently was murdered, struck by a stone arrow point that was found lodged in his left shoulder. The twisted position of his body indicates that the murderer, or one of his accomplices, pulled the arrow's shaft out of Ötzi's prone body.
Yet whoever killed Ötzi did not take the valuable and finely wrought copper axe that he carried with him — an indicator that at the age of 45, the Ice Man may have been a figure of some importance in his community. Recently, scientists who were able to extract DNA from Ötzi's remains discovered that he belonged to haplogroup K, which reaches levels of 20 to 30% in present-day populations in the region. But Ötzi's maternal line, which fell into the K1 family of haplogroup K, did not match any of the branches that are known today. His maternal line must have died out in the 5,300 years since Ötzi's death.