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Busting the myth of medieval dissection ban, one bust at a time


Think of your worst medical nightmare and the above picture might come to mind (for the rest of your natural life).

Though the horrifying pose conjures images of a medieval battle ax introducing an unfortunate soul to their maker, it’s actually the oldest example of dissection carried out in the Middle Ages for medical research purposes.

Currently part of a private collection (gah, really?!), the mummified remains from the 1200s will soon go on display at the┬áParisian Museum of the History of Medicine. Though it is far from the only evidence that the Dark Ages were not as dark as popular history would have us think, it is the oldest known evidence of “European anatomical preparation,” preserved with “…the veins and arteries…filled with a mixture of beeswax, lime and cinnabar mercury.”

It could also have been a great example to students tempted to stray from the straight and narrow of what happens upon seeing the fiery pit of hell opening to you for all of eternity, but, hey, who are we to judge?

Full story at Yahoo! News.

The ugly side of history.

Photo credit: LiveScience.com/photo courtesy Archives of Medical Science


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  • Hal

    Word Origins for $1000, Alex. Question: What’s a splitting headache?