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Researchers to recreate voice of Ötzi the Iceman

He met a bloody and violent end 5,300 years ago in the Austrian Alps, but the voice of Ötzi the Iceman could soon be heard from beyond the grave.

Researchers to recreate voice of Ötzi the Iceman
Researchers hope to recreate Ötzi's voice by constructing a model 
of his vocal tract with CT scans [Credit: Reuters]
Scientists have been analysing scans of the Bronze Age man's corpse, which was found poking out of a glacier in South Tyrol, Austria in 1991, to build up a picture of what his voice was like.

Using the scans of his throat and the tissue around his voice box, researchers claim they may be able to use sophisticated software to recreate what he may have sounded like.

Rolando Fustos, a laryngologist at the San Maurizio Hospital in Bolzano who has been leading the work, told Alto Adige newspaper: 'Through the development of the CT scan images performed on Ötzi, it has been possible to produce a fairly reliable determination of his 'sound-board'.'

He said his team, which includes scientists at the University of Padua are now working on developing sound files that could be used as part of the exhibition at the Iceman Institute in Bolzano.

The team are using physical information about Ötzi's throat and combining it with data about how this impacts on the acoustic energy it would generate.

They will use voice synthesisers to replicate this.

Ötzi has already provided scientists with a wealth of information about life during the Bronze Age in central Europe.

Initially, it was thought that he froze to death in a blizzard, but CT scans have since revealed that he died violently with a flint arrow head in his shoulder, where it ruptured a key blood vessel.

While his body bears the cuts and broken bones of a violent death – suggesting he was either a hunter or a warrior killed in a skirmish with a rival tribe – he also was found to have been suffering arthritis.

He was also infested with a parasite called whipworm and was also infected with a common bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which has helped to shed light on mass migrations in the past.

His DNA has shown he was predisposed to heart disease, but has also provided invaluable insights into his ancestry.

A recent study showed his parents appear to have belonged to families from quite different areas of Europe.

While his mother's line appears to be from an Alpine family, his father comes from a genetic line found in Sweden and Bulgaria.

Analysis of his stomach has shown he ate a diet of venison, Alpine ibex, barley soup and bread.

Three dimensional Ct scans of Ötzi's body are also being used to 3D-print a replica of his body.

Authors: Hannah Roberts & Richard Gray | Source: Daily Mail [February 23, 2016]

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