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Tycho Brahe was not poisoned

A team of researchers who analysed the remains of Tycho Brahe, the 16th-century Danish astronomer, have concluded that he did not die of mercury poisoning.

In the past century, the mercury poisoning theory received apparent corroboration from repeated tests on samples of hair taken from Brahe’s long moustache, which were removed from the astronomer’s grave in another exhumation in 1901.

“To definitively prove or disprove these much debated theories, we took samples from Tycho Brahe’s beard, bones and teeth when we exhumed his remains in 2010. While our analyses of his teeth are not yet complete, the scientific analyses of Tycho Brahe’s bones and beard are,” Jens Vellev, an archaeologist at Aarhus University in Denmark who is heading the research project, said in a statement.

The Danish-Czech team measured the concentration of mercury using three different quantitative chemical methods.

[Full story]

Story: Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

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