2014 08 International Congress of Dipterology

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Quelle: 8th International Congress of Dipterology, Potsdam, 2014, Abstract Volume 1. Page 36, DOI: 10.13140/2.1.2929.9529

Arthropods on mummies in the Catacombe dei Cappuccini in Palermo, Italy

8th International Congress of Dipterology. Potsdam, Germany, 10. - 15.08.2014

[Articles from MB] [Articles about MB]

TEXT: MARK BENECKE

Keywords: Forensic entomology, mummies, Catacombe dei Cappuccini


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In July 2012, over several days and nights, our team examined 622 mummies in the basement of the Capuchin monestary in Palermo, with corpses dating back mostly between the 17th to 20th century. The mummies passed through different, mixed stages of decay, even though their decompositional end state is mummification.


Except mummy PriNb27 which did not have a head, we found that most heads were skeletonized, i.e., not mummified. There were no statistical differences in the type of decay between mummies of males, females, monks, regular priests nor between the mummies of persons with other occupations (Iawyers etc.).


We found insect remains on 260 mummies, yet no evidence of blowfly remains (Calliphoridae) which are usually very common in early decomposition. Instead, we found others arthropods typical for corpses, e.g., Hydrotaea ignava (Harris, 1780) (Diptera: Muscidae), Fannia scalaris (Fabricius, 1794) (Diptera: Fanniidae), Conicera tibialis Schmitz, 1925 (Diptera: Phoridae), Leptocera sp. (Diptera: Sphaeroceridae), Necrobia rufipes (De Geer, 1775) (Coleoptera: Cleridae), Gibbium psylloides (Czenpinski, 1778) (Coleoptera: Ptinidae), Oryzaephilus surinamensis (Linnaeus, 1758) (Coleoptera: Silvanidae), Alysiinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), Tinea pellionella (Linnaeus, 1758) (Lepidoptera: Tineidae) and some pseudoscorpions (Pseudoscorpionida, Arachnida).


Only 260 of the 622 mummies showed signs (skin lesions) that may, from our experience with decomposing bodies, have been caused by insect activity. Comparing males, females, virgins, monks, priests, and the members of other professions, only priests and virgins showed a significant difference in insect colonization patterns (Wilkoxon). This may be due to very different methods of mummification.


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Dr. rer. medic. Mark Benecke · Diplombiologe (verliehen in Deutschland) · Öffentlich bestellter und vereidigter Sachverständiger für kriminaltechnische Sicherung, Untersuchung u. Auswertung von biologischen Spuren (IHK Köln) · Landsberg-Str. 16, 50678 Köln, Deutschland, E-Mail: forensic@benecke.com · www.benecke.com · Umsatzsteueridentifikationsnummer: ID: DE212749258 · Aufsichtsbehörde: Industrie- und Handelskammer zu Köln, Unter Sachsenhausen 10-26, 50667 Köln, Deutschland · Fallbearbeitung und Termine nur auf echtem Papier. Absprachen per E-mail sind nur vorläufige Gedanken und nicht bindend. 🌏 Mark Benecke, M. Sc., Ph.D. · Certified & Sworn In Forensic Biologist · International Forensic Research & Consulting · Postfach 250411 · 50520 Cologne · Germany · Emergencies: Text / SMS / text messages only (never call me): +49 171 177 1273 · Anonymous calls & suppressed numbers will never be answered. · Dies ist eine Notfall-Nummer nur für SMS in aktuellen, kriminalistischen Notfällen). Bitte rufen Sie niemals an. · If it is not a real emergency, send an e-mail, pls. · If it is an emergency, send a text message (SMS) · Facebook Fan Site · Benecke Homepage · Datenschutz-Erklärung · Impressum · Archive Page