Monday, 9 August 2010

Alas, poor E.T.?

The new exhibition at the Royal College of Surgeons is on now until April 2011. It explores the development of plastic surgery from around 800 BC, including the consequences of warfare and today's growing obsession with enhancing the human body.
I'll be going as there are never before seen pathology specimens on show, including a bound South American skull. Some ancient communities practised skull binding, which is a tantalising anthropological puzzle. While it is most likely that rope, cloth and boards were used to elongate the skull at a young age, there are debates why this was done. Perhaps it was to enhance mental abilities or it was part of a social hierarchy. Or perhaps these conical-headed people were aliens?

(photo credit: Robert Connolly, from

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