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The Brno Ossuary is the second largest ossuary in Europe. The town of Brno, located in the Czech Republic, was settled in the year of 1243. The discovery of the bodies occured quite recently and definitely by accident.
Before completing renovations in the small town, it is standard practice to complete a preliminary archeological dig. When the digging began in 2001, it turned up some 50,000 skeletons that were stuffed under the square into a medieval charnel. Once piled in neat rows, at some point water and mud had flooded the gigantic underground ossuary and jumbled thousands upon thousands of bones.
The bones are thought to be from the 1600 through the 1700s and are believed to have been moved from an old cemetery to make space for more burials. This is the case for most of the ossuaries and catacombs in Europe. It is the sheer amount of skulls, bones and skeletons that makes it the second largest ossuary in Europe, with the first being the Catacombs in Paris.
Because of the different colors on the bones, It is clear that many of the people died of various diseases. Though all the bones are tinted yellow, having never been exposed to sunlight, the extra yellow ones likely died of cholera, while the red tinted bones probably died from the plague.
Doctor Returns Amputated Arm to Owner After 47 Years
An American doctor, who kept the bones of a patient’s amputated arm as a bizarre wartime memento, has returned them to the man 47 years later.
Dr Sam Axelrad took the arm bones home to Houston from Vietnam in 1966 after his medical colleagues boiled off the flesh, reconstructed the arm bones and gave them to him as a souvenir.
The doctor flew to Vietnam to meet the amputee, former North Vietnamese soldier Nguyen Quang Hung, after he found the bones in a military bag in his closet where they had sat for decades.
(Source: Daily Mail)
Bone-Eating Snot-Flower Worm
Osedax mucofloris is also known as the bone-eating snot-flower worm. This bizarre animal was recently discovered and described in 2005, by museum scientists working together with marine biologists in Sweden.
The animal lives on whale bones on the sea floor and it is thought that this species, and others closely related to it, have evolved unique adaptations to this unusual habitat. To date, the bone-eating snot-flower worm has only been recorded from 2 whale carcasses off the coast of Sweden.
All of these flowers are made from real bones of mice and rats. Japanese artist Hideki Tokushige states that the collection, called “Honebana” (bone flower), is the result of a ceremonial process that honors the cycle of death, decay, and rebirth, even as modern society becomes increasingly detached from this spiritual reality.
- Skull of Richard III - Recently discovered with his entire skeleton.
- The Lovers - These two skeletons, discovered in 1972 at Hasanlu in Iran, were nicknamed the Lovers for the affectionate pose they were found in.
- Possible bones of Mona Lisa - The skeleton that woman historians believe was Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous muse, Lisa Gherardin.
- The Elephant Man - Joseph Carey Merrick, born in 1862, never suffered from elephantiasis, but he believed his mother had been frightened by an elephant, causing the bulging tumors that sprouted from his face and eventually reached a circumference of three feet.
- Mesopotamian Human Sacrifice - skulls discovered at the royal cemetery at Ur in Iraq. Around 2,000 burials were recovered, attesting to the practice of human sacrifice on a large scale.
- Skull of pianist André Tchaikowsky - before his death, he donated his skull to the Royal Shakespeare Company to be used in the play Hamlet as Yorick’s skull.
Galileo Galilei…Has Body Parts on Display
At the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy, they have some odd artifacts on display - three fingers and a tooth from Galileo Galilei’s corpse.
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), the greatest astronomer, physicist and mathematician of his time, was condemned by the Catholic Church during the Roman Inquisition for “vehement suspicion of heresy” for his theory of heliocentrism (that the Earth and not the Sun was moving). In 1633 he was tried and convicted of heresy and spent the last nine years of his life under house arrest.
When Galileo passed away in 1642, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando II, wished to bury him in the main body of the Basilica of Santa Croce, next to the tomb of his father and erect a mausoleum in his honor. Those plans were halted after Pope Urban VIII protested. He was instead buried in a small room in the basilica.
In 1737, a monument was finally erected in honor of Galilei. But when his body was being moved to be reburied, three fingers and a tooth were stolen from his remains. One finger was quickly recovered while the other missing digits and tooth were found accidentally at an auction hundreds of years later in 2009.
Three fingers and a tooth have been on display at the Galileo Museum in Florence to celebrate the 400 year anniversary of his first observations of the skies. What is unusual is that body parts on display are usually reserved for saints and not scientists.