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Are you my mummy?

25 March 2013

Wars are a boon to science and technology (alas) and the “drug war” is no exception.

AFP, via Raw Story:

Mexican forensic expert Alejandro Hernandez dips dry, yellowish cadavers in a see-through bath, hoping his technique to rehydrate mummified bodies will solve murders in crime-infested Ciudad Juarez.

The city bordering Texas has endured drug-related violence and a wave of murders of women in recent years, with bodies dumped anywhere and drying up quickly in the desert climate, complicating the task of identifying victims and their cause of death.

With his special solution, whose recipe he keeps secret, Hernandez can rehydrate bodies, making facial features as well as gunshot or stab wounds reappear.

“It is common with the climate in Ciudad Juarez…for bodies to mummify or stiffen, with the skin stretched like drums,” Hernandez, an expert at the Chihuahua state prosecutor’s office, told AFP.

It’s not that unusual for bodies to mummify in a lot of different parts of Mexico (besides the famous Guanajuato Mummies, I’ve seen the ones accidentally dug up by Emiliano Zapata’s troops in San Angel, still on display at the Ex-Convento del Carmen), which aren’t particularly ancient (at most going back only two centuries), but long enough in the past that any forensic examination is more a matter of social history (“What did people die of back then? “What did they eat?”) than of administering justice. Though… our best crime fighters have had to deal with some of our old mummies before…

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