Collector finds Galileo’s lost tooth, thumb and finger

Published on November 20th, 2009 | by Admin


An Italian art collector has found a tooth, thumb and finger which belonged to Galileo Galilei who died in the 17th century.

The body parts, along with another finger and a vertebrae, were cut from Galileo’s corpse by scientists and historians during a burial ceremony held 95 years after his death in 1642.

Giovanni Targioni Tozzetti, a science historian who cut away the parts and wrote about the ceremony, “confessed he had found it hard to resist the temptation to take away the skull which had housed such extraordinary genius,” the museum said.

he newly-found relics had passed from one collector to another until they went missing in 1905. The remaining finger and the vertebrae have been conserved since 1737 in a mummified state in museums in Florence and Padua.

All the organic material extracted from the corpse has therefore now been identified and is conserved in responsible hands,” the museum said in a statement.

On the basis of considerable historical documentation, there are no doubts about the authenticity of the items,” it added.

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