Diatoms from the colon of the Iceman

Part of the The Man in the Ice book series (3262, volume 4)


Diatoms are autotrophic organisms of microscopic size. Their persistent silica structures (frustules, valves) are easily dispersed and found almost everywhere, even in the air (Geißler and Gerloff, 1965). The majority of the diatom frustules are persistent over very long time periods under non-acid conditions. Therefore it was not astonishing that with the findings of the Iceman diatoms could be sampled (Oeggl, this volume). Although diatoms have been used for a long time in forensic medicine to identify causes of drowning (e.g., Peabody, 1980; Ludes and Coste, 1996), this is the first time that diatoms are used to identify the diet and living conditions of a prehistoric human being.


Diatom Community Mountain Stream Diatom Frustule Autotrophic Organism Cocconeis Placentula 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Rott
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für BotanikUniversität InnsbruckAustria

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