Diseases such as tuberculosis and syphilis, as well as lead poisoning, would appear in the bones.
The researchers noted that syphilis was seen as a form of plague at the time, killing about 20 million people in the first quarter of the 16th century.
Italian scientists hope to dig up the remains of Leonardo da Vinci in order to determine if his most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, is a cryptically disguised self-portrait.“If we manage to find his skull, we could rebuild Leonardo’s face and compare it with the Mona Lisa,” said anthropologist Giorgio Gruppioni, who is part of a team from Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage, a leading association of scientists and art historians, which is undertaking the investigation.
Da Vinci, who died in 1519 at age 67, was originally buried in the Chateau Amboise in France's Loire Valley, which was destroyed after the French Revolution in 1789.
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Artist Lillian Schwartz has recently used computer programs to identify similarities between the features of the Mona Lisa and those of one of da Vinci’s true self-portraits.
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It is believed that his remains were reburied in the castle’s smaller chapel of Saint-Hubert in 1874.
An inscription above the tomb says they are “presumed” to be those of da Vinci.
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