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Fortune as he may have looked in life. Painted by William Westwood, a medical illustrator, based on Fortune's skeleton.
Why Wasn't Fortune Buried?

By examining the bones using X-Rays, chemical analysis, DNA analysis, and careful measurements, scientists can learn much about Fortune’s life. Fortune’s 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 Fortune’s 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 individual’s 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 individual.

Early injuries to the skeleton remain evident after death, as a mended bone continues to carry evidence of the damaged bone.

skull from above
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Fortune's Skull from above
The hole was drilled to articulate the skeleton and caused the skull's fused sutures to open slightly.

skull, side view
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Fortune's Skull, side view

second cervical vertebra
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Fortune's Axis
The second cervical vertebra, with a projecting bone growth that would have restricted Fortune's neck movement.

arm bones
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Fortune's Humerus and Ulna
Two of the arm bones, shown articulated at the elbow in this image.

right hand
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Fortune's Right Hand, articulated

hip and thigh
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Fortune's Left Femur and Pelvis

lower vertebrae
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Fortune's Coccyx, Sacrum, and Lumbar Vertebrae

shin bone and knee cap
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Fortune's Tibia and Patella
The patella (knee cap) and tibia (shin bone) are articulated in this image.

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Fortune's Tibia
The lower end of the tibia, showing bone growths near the ankle.

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