Evidence for End-stage Cannibalism on Sir John Franklin's Last Expedition to the Arctic, 1845


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The 1845 British naval expedition commanded by Sir John Franklin to map the Northwest Passage ended in disaster, with none returning alive from the Canadian Arctic. The 19th century Inuit testimony described cannibalism among Franklin's men in the final throes of the expedition. Such claims were controversial at the time, but were supported in the 1980s and 1990s when knife marks were identified on human remains recovered from expedition sites on King William Island. Survival cannibalism generally follows a sequence in which meat is initially cut from an intact corpse, but if further calories are required, successively greater effort is put into corpse processing. End-stage cannibalism is characterised by breakage and boiling of bones to extract marrow fat from medullary cavities and cancellous bone. The current work involves re-examination, using macroscopic and microscopic study, of human remains (representing a minimum of 35 bones) from the Franklin expedition. It describes evidence for breakage and polishing of broken edges of parts of some long bones. These alterations are tentatively interpreted as breakage and heating of bones in water, to facilitate marrow extraction. If this is correct, then it constitutes the first osteological evidence of end-stage cannibalism among members of the expedition. Comparison of these osteological findings with 19th century Inuit reports provides further evidence supporting the veracity of Inuit descriptions of cannibalistic practices by expedition members. Copyright (c) 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
机译:由约翰·富兰克林爵士指挥的1845年英国海军远征队绘制了西北航道的地图,以灾难告终,没有人从加拿大北极归来。 19世纪的因纽特人证词在探险的最后一刻描述了富兰克林男人之间的自相残杀。这种说法在当时是有争议的,但在1980年代和1990年代得到了支持,当时从威廉国王岛的探险地点发现的人类遗骸上发现了刀痕。生存的自相残杀通常遵循以下顺序:首先从完整的尸体上切下肉,但是如果需要更多的卡路里,则随后将更大的精力投入到尸体加工中。食人症的晚期特征是骨头的破裂和沸腾,以从髓腔和松质骨中提取骨髓脂肪。当前的工作涉及使用宏观和微观研究对富兰克林探险队的人类遗体(至少代表35根骨头)进行重新检查。它描述了一些长骨部分断裂边缘破裂和抛光的证据。这些改变暂定解释为水中骨头的破裂和加热,以促进骨髓提取。如果这是正确的话,那么它就构成了探险队食人族中晚期食人症的第一个骨学证据。将这些骨学发现与19世纪因纽特人的报告进行比较,提供了进一步的证据,支持远征队成员对因纽特人食人行为描述的准确性。版权所有(c)2015 John Wiley&Sons,Ltd.



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