Fortune as he may have looked in life. Painted
by William Westwood, a medical illustrator, based on Fortune's skeleton.
By examining the bones using X-Rays, chemical analysis,
DNA analysis, and careful measurements, scientists can
learn much about Fortunes life. Fortunes bones
have been examined by anthropologists at Howard University
and at the University of Oklahoma. Chemical analysis is
being conducted at Hampshire University. Preliminary reports
have informed us about Fortunes probable height,
age and illnesses. Future reports might reveal what part
of the world Fortune was born in, and perhaps even who
he is related to.
How it is Done
Measuring the bones, using rigorous standards and scientific
tables, can identify the height of an individual.
The shape of individual bones, such as the pelvic bones,
can indicate whether the individual was male or female.
Suture lines in the skull can give an indication of the
age of the individual at the time of death, since the
lines close at a predictable rate into adulthood.
The health of an individual can be read in his bones,
with the condition of the bones indicating levels of nutrition
at different stages in life. In some instances, the condition
of the bones can indicate the presence of certain diseases.
Chemical analysis of dental roots can reveal the region
of the world where an individual spent the first years
of life, when the young diet is locally grown.
The activities that characterized an individuals
life can leave a permanent record in the bones. Repeated,
strenuous activity can produce robust muscles that build
bone mass where the muscles attached to the bones. These
areas offer clues to the activities, and work, of the
Early injuries to the skeleton remain evident after death,
as a mended bone continues to carry evidence of the damaged