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King Louis XVI’s Blood Found Inside of a Squash

Guillotine
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Scientists believe they have finally proven that a two century old, blood stained handkerchief found inside a hollowed out squash is that of Louis XVI, who met his demise by way of the guillotine in Paris in 1793 after being found guilty of treason.

Researchers say that the authenticity of the blood found in an old gourd which displayed the text “On January 21, Maximilien Bourdaloue dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his decapitation,” has been difficult to prove, since there is no DNA from relatives to compare it to.

However, scientists recently discovered the mummified head of Louis’ predecessor, Henri IV, which uncovered a rare genetic signature shared by the two men, despite over seven generations of separation between them. “This study shows that (the owners of the remains) share a genetic heritage passed on through the paternal line. They have a direct link to one another through their fathers,” said French forensic pathologist Philippe Charlier.

During the revolution that led to the downfall and beheading of Louis and Queen Marie Antoinette, angry mobs looted the royal chapel near Paris and disposed of the stolen remains of ancient monarchs by throwing them into pits. Despite the chaos, someone managed to hang on to one of the severed heads.

In 2010, that head was proven to belong to Henri by matching it to 16th-century portraits of the king, radiocarbon dating, 3D-scans and X-rays. Scientists say they can now use the DNA from Louis XVI to uncover the genetic code of France’s last ruler and his surviving bloodline.

Next in Science: Why Does Booze Make us Crave Greasy Food?

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