VSL:SCIENCE // The mystery of Copernicus’ bones–solved

It took four years of painstaking forensic research, but
the bones of Nicolaus Copernicus have finally been found.

We’ve always known that the 16th-century astronomer — who located the sun at the center of our solar system and kick-started the Scientific Revolution — was buried in the Frombork cathedral, in northern Poland. But archaeologists spent decades searching for a grave marker, and it wasn’t until researchers scanned the church floor with a powerful X-ray machine that they uncovered the skeleton. Tests confirmed that its DNA matched that of four stray hairs found in Copernicus’ library, and a digital reconstruction of the skull’s facial features closely resembled portraits of the astronomer from the 15th century. It may have taken 600 years, but the great man will finally get the tombstone he deserves.

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