Bald, dark eyes and very dark skin: A genome analysis reveals what the glacier man Ötzi looked like when he was alive. The ancestry of the man who lived around 3250 BC in the Tyrolean Alps therefore goes back directly to those first farmers who came to Europe from the Middle East around 8000 to 9000 years ago. This is reported by a research team from Germany, Italy and Austria in the journal “Cell Genomics”.

The sequencing of the genome shows that more than 91 percent of Ötzi’s genome comes from Anatolian immigrants. These early farmers came from the Middle East around 9000 years ago and brought the previously unknown agriculture to Europe.

The remaining almost 9 percent of the genome comes from European foragers. The research team concludes that Ötzi came from a relatively isolated population in the Alps that had little contact with other European groups. “Genetically, it looks as if its ancestors came directly from Anatolia,” says co-author Johannes Krause, director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

Ötzi tended to hair loss

According to the genetic analysis, Ötzi had very dark skin – much darker than the complexion of today’s southern Europeans. According to the authors, the coloring of the mummy’s skin is not due to a darkening over the millennia in the ice. The fact that hardly any hair was found on the mummy’s head was apparently not caused by this storage. Instead, Ötzi, who was originally dark-eyed and black-haired, was genetically prone to hair loss and was probably very bald.

The glacier mummy is in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, which also contains a reconstruction of the living Oetzi with light skin and long hair. “We will not adjust the reconstruction right away,” said press spokeswoman Katharina Hersel of the dpa. ‘While genetics are clearly analyzable, the research team is very cautious about the likelihood of if, when and to what extent these genetics will show up during an individual’s lifetime.’