Galileo's lost fingers, tooth found

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London, Nov 21 (ANI): Father of astronomy Galileo Galilei's missing fingers and a tooth have been found again.

Paolo Galluzzi, director of the Museum of the History of Science, has said that admirers removed three fingers, a vertebra and a tooth from his corpse in a Florentine basilica 1737.

Ninety-five years after his death, fans took their opportunity to steal body parts from the scientist when his corpse was being moved from a storage place to a monumental tomb, opposite the tomb of Michelangelo, in Santa Croce Basilica in Florence.

One of the fingers was recovered soon after, and is now part of the museum's collection, and the vertebra has been kept at the University of Padua, where Galileo had taught for years, according to the museum.

But, Galluzzi said that the tooth and two of the fingers - the thumb and middle finger - from the scientist's right hand, were kept by one of the admirers, an Italian marquis.

Later, the body parts were kept in a container, which was passed on from generation to generation in the same family,

"But with time, the generations lost knowledge of what was actually inside the container," and the family sold it, the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

By 1905, all traces of the relics had disappeared, "leading scholars to hypothesise that these singular specimens had been definitely lost," the museum said in a statement.

However, the container recently turned up at auction and was purchased by a private collector.

The buyer eventually contacted Galluzzi and other Florence culture officials to conclude they were Galileo's fingers and tooth, said the museum director.

The museum revealed that the relics were inside an 18th-century blown-glass vase, which in turn was inside a wooden case topped with a wooden bust of Galileo.

The museum will put the fingers and tooth on public display next spring. (ANI)

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