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The left leg also bears tattoos, but these designs could not be clearly distinguished.In addition, the chief's back is tattooed with a series of small circles in line with the vertebral column.Together with the body were clothing, a bow and arrows, a bronze ax, and flint for making fire.

Professor Konrad Spindler of Innsbruck University speculated that the tattooing could have been ornamental, or that it might have been used for magical purposes or to denote social status.

"I don't like superlatives," said Spindler, "but this is the only body of a Bronze Age man found in a glacier and certainly the best preserved corpse of that period ever found.

Generally, analysis of a skeleton will determine the person's sex.

However, bones of the Gold Man's skeleton were broken and fragmented so a reliable determination was not possible. Orazak Ismagulov, physical anthropologist at the Kazakh Institute of Archaeology, suggested that the skeleton was that of a male after examining only the cranium and a few long bones.

The best preserved tattoos were images of a donkey, a mountain ram, two highly stylized deer with long antlers and an imaginary carnivore on the right arm.