Identifying old blood one corpuscle at a time
One must wonder if there is some applicability to shroud studies. An interesting paper was published online, yesterday, May 2, 2012, by the Journal of the Royal Society: Interface, entitled Preservation of 5300 year old red blood cells in the Iceman by Marek Janko, Robert W. Stark and Albert Zink. It is not behind a pay wall. I noticed this:
One corpuscle with a structure likely to be a RBC  was found in the hand wound tissue of the Iceman (figure 1d), and two single corpuscles were detected within the arrowhead wound sample. Sample B furthermore showed an agglomeration of several randomly distributed particles (figure 1f ). The selected corpuscles exhibit a discoidal, concave surface with a diameter between 5.8 and 6.4 mm (figure 1d,e). The concave shape is typical for RBCs and arises during the early stages of development in the bone marrow when the cell nuclei are discarded, leaving behind an impression on the membrane.
James Owen writing in National Geographic Daily News puts it in simpler words I appreciate:
"There were no [blood] traces found, even when they opened some arteries [of the 5,300-year-old mummy], so it was thought maybe the blood had not preserved and had completely degraded, or that he lost too much blood because of the arrow injury" on his back, said team member Albert Zink, head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy.
For the new investigation, scientists traced Ötzi’s wound areas—the arrow injury and a cut on his right hand—with a pioneering nano-size probe.
Each minute movement of the probe was recorded with a laser, "so you get a three-dimensional image of the sample in a very tiny scale," Zink explained.
The scans revealed classic "doughnut shape" red blood cells, the team reported Wednesday in the journal Interface.
[ . . . ]
The new nanotechnology, allied with an atomic force microscope, also uncovered traces of fibrin, a blood-clotting agent—evidence that the Iceman suffered a mercifully quick demise.
Image is from National Geographic