Sunday, February 27, 2011

Historical Murder Victim Identified?

Scientist (and artists) have recreated the face of 5300 year old murder victim John "Otzi the Iceman" Doe .

If anyone recognizes the face of the victim, please call the police.

The victim's body was found frozen in the Italian Alps. A broken off arrow head was found in his body. He may have died from bleeding out, or a subsequent fall after being shot.

There are indications that the victim was in a fight with at least one other individual, wounding him before dying.

Genetic analysis of the victim's mitochondrial DNA indicates that he belongs to a unique European subclade with very limited distribution among modern Europeans mtDNA samples.

Based on the estimated year of death and murder weapon used (arrow), we have attempted to identify the identity of the victim.

Our primary clue is from Genesis 4:23-24

כג וַיֹּאמֶר לֶמֶךְ לְנָשָׁיו, עָדָה וְצִלָּה שְׁמַעַן קוֹלִי--נְשֵׁי לֶמֶךְ, הַאְזֵנָּה אִמְרָתִי: כִּי אִישׁ הָרַגְתִּי לְפִצְעִי, וְיֶלֶד לְחַבֻּרָתִי.
כד כִּי שִׁבְעָתַיִם, יֻקַּם-קָיִן; וְלֶמֶךְ, שִׁבְעִים וְשִׁבְעָה

23: Lamech said to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me.
24: If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times"

In the Torah, Lemach describes being in a fight with a man who he subsequently killed. The Midrash expands the story and explicitly states that Lemach actually killed Cain with an arrow.

Is our murder victim John "Otzi the Iceman" Doe none other than the first murderer, Cain?

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Mike S. said...

Mitochondrial DNA is passed strictly from the mother to offspring. the frequency of his mitochondrial DNA among living people says nothing about how many descendants he does or doesn't have. It says how many his mother has in the strictly female line.

Isreview said...

Simply Fascinating!

JoeSettler said...

Mike: You're right. I'll correct the post.

Anonymous said...

And what/where is the "mark" if he is Cain?

Really kind of reaching here aren't you?

JoeSettler said...

He had tattoos on his skin.

The Reform Baal Teshuvah said...

Even if one were to accept all of the premises this depends on, you still couldn't make a case. On the basis of Lamech's utterance, you're going to identify a single murder victim when the world was becoming so full of violence that God decided to destroy it? Based on p'shat alone, there are too many people besides Cain Otzi could be.

JoeSettler said...

Interesting point you raise about the increase in violence at that time. But if he died 5300 years ago (around y. 471) and the flood was around 1656(?), that means nearly 1200 years of violence. Seems to be an excessive period of time when the easier answer is that this was an early murder.

This post though, really wasn't written to be taken so seriously.

Anonymous said...

If you rely on midrash, you might as well read fairy tales. That's all that midrashim are.

Nachum said...

Some interpret what Lamech says as a boast: "Injure me and I'll kill you."

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