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Robert Wilde

Forensic Anthropology Applied to Giovanni de Medici

By February 1, 2013

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The bones of Giovanni de Medici and his wife have been exhumed for study by forensic anthropologists at the University of Pisa. I know that opening tombs and digging people up can be a controversial topic, but if the conclusions explained in this Discovery article are true, the work has certainly given us some useful information.

I have to be honest here, I'm not familiar with Giovanni, who fought as a mercenary in Italy in the early sixteen century, but there appears to have been a tradition that, after his leg was hit by a cannon ball at a battle in 1526, a botched amputation led to his death. Well, the anthropologists have taken a look and absolved the surgeon of all blame, identifying gangrene as the cause of his death. If you like medical detail, the article has some more conclusions drawn from the bones, for Giovanni and his wife.

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