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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A 2-year-old who died in Italy in 1920 has been perfectly preserved to this day.


Rosalia Lombardo, who died over 90 years
ago from pneumonia, still just looks like
she’s sleeping. She resides in a glass
coffin in Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo,
Italy. As one of the world’s best-preserved
bodies, she has been a consistent source
of frustrations for embalmers and
taxidermists for decades. Recently,
anthropologists have uncovered the secret
to her pristine preservation that her original
embalmer took with him to the grave in
1933. As it turns out, Ms Lombardo was
preserved with a combination of formalin,
zinc salts, alcohol, salicylic acid, and
glycerin.
Formalin, to kill bacteria, salicylic acid to
kill fungi, alcohol to dry the body out and
mummify it, and glycerin to keep her from
getting too dry. Embalmers don’t use zinc
anymore, but that’s supposedly the key
ingredient for Lombardo’s successful
embalming.

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A 2-year-old who died in Italy in 1920 has
been perfectly preserved to this day.
Rosalia Lombardo, who died over 90 years
ago from pneumonia, still just looks like
she’s sleeping. She resides in a glass
coffin in Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo,
Italy. As one of the world’s best-preserved
bodies, she has been a consistent source
of frustrations for embalmers and
taxidermists for decades. Recently,
anthropologists have uncovered the secret
to her pristine preservation that her original
embalmer took with him to the grave in
1933. As it turns out, Ms Lombardo was
preserved with a combination of formalin,
zinc salts, alcohol, salicylic acid, and
glycerin.
Formalin, to kill bacteria, salicylic acid to
kill fungi, alcohol to dry the body out and
mummify it, and glycerin to keep her from
getting too dry. Embalmers don’t use zinc
anymore, but that’s supposedly the key
ingredient for Lombardo’s successful
embalming.

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