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Ski Champion Finds 400-Year-Old Goat Mummy In The Italian Alps


"Only half of the animal's body was exposed from the snow,"
Oberlechner said, adding that the creature's skin "looked like leather, completely hairless."

Though making a name for himself on the competition slopes, it could be said that Herman Oberlechner, Italian alpinist and alpine ski champion, likely never thought he would be known for making an anthropological discovery. However, though it was a bit of happenstance, that is exactly what the man did.

While on a hiking expedition in the Italian Alps, Oberlechner spotted something jutting out of the ice. On closer inspection, he realized it was some sort of dead animal. Having never seen anything like it before, Oberlechner took a photo of the creature to send to a local park ranger, which in turn lead to the two of them reporting the find to the Italian Dept. of Cultural Heritage.

It was later revealed that the ice mummy was a 400-year-old chamois, a species of goat-antelope found across European mountains. 

This particular specimen was removed from the area by experts and taken by the Dept. of Cultural Heritage to Eurac Research for further study. Part of the study will include research into ways to better preserve ancient DNA samples. This will be the first time that an animal mummy will be studied for this application.

This story has been reported by The Science Times. For detailed information about this find, including more photos of the ice mummy and the extraction of the specimen from the ice, please follow the link below.

400-Year-Old Frozen Goat Offers Insight on Ice Mummies

Italian alpinist and champion skier Hermann Oberlechner discovered the chamois, a species of goat-antelope endemic to European mountains. From Oberlechner's recollection of the discovery, he was on a 6-hour hike across the snowy mountains when he saw something jutting out of the ice in Val Aurina, South Tyrol, Italy.


Photo: The 400-year-old goat-antelope ice mummy before being removed. - Credit: Esercito Italiano - Comando Truppe Alpine

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