400-year-old mummified goat found in Italian Alps

(Photo: Live Science)

A 400-year-old goat was found buried in the snow by a champion skier in the Italian Alps.

The chamois, a member of the goat-antelope species, was discovered by Hermann Oberlechner while he was on a six-hour hike in Val Aurina.

The perfectly preserved carcass was taken to a lab for further observation and study.

“Only half of the animal’s body was exposed from the snow,” Oberlechner said in a statement. “The skin looked like leather, completely hairless; I had never seen anything like it. I immediately took a photo and sent it to the park ranger, together we then notified the Department of Cultural Heritage.”

The goat was protected by the glacier for 400 years and only recently released due to the ice receding. With the help of the Alpine Army Corps, the mummy was brought back to the valley and entrusted to Eurac Research for scientific study by the Department of Cultural Heritage.

Due to their age and state of preservation, the remains are in fact a perfect simulant of a human mummy and will allow researchers to improve the conservation techniques of ice mummies all over the world while determining methods for the safeguarding of ancient DNA – a mine of valuable information for humanity.