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Science Ink #11 – “Iceman”

In this week’s science ink, Mike Goldstein revives the world’s oldest known tattoos, from the back of Ötzi, who died 5400 years ago in the Alps. No one knows what the stack of lines meant to him.

“Iceman” - Photos and Text Courtesy of “Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed” by Carl Zimmer

“I got the tattoo to remind myself of my biological link to him,” Goldstein writes. “Though we come from times that are completely different, we’re still both human, which is all we can be. It reminds me that I can live however I want – I don’t have to work in an office or wear a tie, as are the expectations of our culture. I can walk across the Alps and die in a swamp, and that’s OK.”

Check out more tattoos in “Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed” by Carl Zimmer.

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Carl Zimmer

    Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for the New York Times and magazines such as Discover, where he is a contributing editor and columnist. He is the author of twelve books, the most recent of which is “Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.” His website is