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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Soot-toos: Oldest Known Tattoos Studied

For those inclined to put ink to flesh, modern tattoo parlours offer dizzying arrays of dyes – mercury-containing reds, manganese purples, even pigments that glow in the dark. Getting inked wasn't always quite so complicated, however. A new analysis concludes that the world's oldest tattoos were etched in soot. Belonging to Ötzi the 5300 year old Tyrolean iceman, the simple tattoos may have served a medicinal purpose, not a decorative one, says Maria Anna Pabst, a researcher at the Medical University of Graz, Austria, who trained optical and electron microscopes on biopsies of Otzi's preserved flesh.

link: World's oldest tattoos were made of soot - science-in-society - 15 July 2009 - New Scientist


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