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The curved spine of Richard III

Photo via the University of Leicester of the King Richard III’s skeleton

In September 2012, the University of Leicester announced they had exhumed the body of King Richard III under the parking lot at a social services office the month before.  The last of the Plantagenet Kings, who was killed in battle in 1485, was positively identified by comparing a DNA from his remains to living descendants.

Photo via the University of Leicester of the curved spine of Richard III. Click here to see larger image.

The skeleton was described as belonging to male of slim build, in his 20’s or 30’s.  When the body was unearthed archaeologists could see a pronounced arc in the spine, indicative of the severe scoliosis (or curvature of the vertebral column) that King Richard III suffered from.  Subsequent osteological analysis revealed that many individual vertebrae were asymmetrical.

Photo via the University of Leicester of 2 individual vertebrae from Richard III spine. Click here to see larger image.

Richard III had idiopathic adolescent onset scoliosis, according to the University of Leicester, this means that the vertebral deformity wasn’t present at birth but started developing after the age of 10, and that the reason for its development isn’t clear but a genetic factor in likely.  It’s quite possible that his scoliosis would’ve been progressive, continuing to worsen as Richard aged, which could have caused more health problems.

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University of Leicester

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