Monday, December 6, 2010

Gourd Possibly Containing King Louis XVI's Blood


A decorated gourd dating back to around 1793 is thought to have carried the blood of Louis XVI, who was beheaded during the French Revolution. On the outside of the gourd, there is the inscription “Maximilien Bourdaloue on January 21st, dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his beheading” probably made by a flame tool. Although the handkerchief was not found, a dried, brown substance was on the inside of it and through modern technology and testing, scientists were able to confirm it is in fact blood, but they are still testing to see if it is specifically Louis XVI’s. The tests they have run though, point quite prominently towards Louis XVI. Louis XVI was known for his striking blue eyes, and on the gene HERC2, a mutation was found which causes blue eyes. Also, DNA testing has revealed the blood came from a male and has a DNA profile uncommon in most Eurasians, which means it came from someone with “royal” blood. Even though there is evidence pointing towards the blood coming from Louis XVI, scientists cannot conclude for sure that it is his because they have nothing to compare it to. Through more testing, they hope to use the DNA of Louis XVII, his son, and Marie Antoinette, his mother, to conclude with certainty. Even though storing blood and body parts in a decorated gourd seems really odd, it was accepted in the 1700’s after an execution.

Suzie B. Period 3

3 comments:

Daniel Bennett - Period 8 said...

That is really fascinating that King Louis XVI's blood could be contained in a gourd. One would think people would use a more precious container to hold a king's blood. It also amazes me how great our technology is to be able to identify traits of a person such as blue eyes.

Daniel Bennett - Period 8 said...

That is really fascinating that King Louis XVI's blood could
be contained in a gourd. One would think people would use a more precious
container to hold a king's blood. It also amazes me how great our
technology is to be able to identify traits of a person such as blue eyes.

daniel.volleyball said...

That is really fascinating that King Louis XVI's blood could
be contained in a gourd. One would think people would use a more precious
container to hold a king's blood. It also amazes me how great our
technology is to be able to identify traits of a person such as blue eyes.