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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Scientific advances open up past, future

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

As some of my former teachers will verify, I have never been a whiz at science. Oh sure, I did the projects and took the tests, but science was never a career path for me. I found the subject interesting and, in some cases, even fascinating. But other than a brief fling with the notion of being a geologist - which ended a quickly as it began - science was a mere subject in school and little else.

Well in reading this week, I came across the story of Oetzi, a 5,000 year-old mummy discovered in the Alps in 1991. And from this one story I found a new appreciation and admiration for the world of science.

Oetzi was by some speculation a man of lofty position. He died from an arrow wound perhaps inflicted in battle, perhaps in some ancient ritual. These points a purely speculation. But here's the part that is not speculation and the part that brings this new appreciation of the world of science.

Through DNA testing of the remains in his intestines, scientists have determined the details of his final meal. And just to top that, the same scientists also learned of the meal that preceded that final meal. Now folks, put that in perspective. After lying frozen for 5,000 years, science has enabled these brilliant men and women to determine the final hours of this ancient warrior.

When I first read of this account, I sat flabbergasted at just how sophisticated the world of science has become. Can you imagine the intelligence and skills required to uncover this finding after so long a period of time? I sit here now and still am amazed that our journey into learning has taken us this far.

Oetzi consumed a type of wild goat once common in the Alps along with cereal grains and some type of plant food in is final day. And then for his last meal, the warrior consumed red deer meat and more grains. By testing the remains in his intestines with current DNA, scientists were able to uncover this incredible details of his mystery man.

It's a small story of one isolated discovery. But it makes me wish I had studied harder in 8th grade science.



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