Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Paul Revere...the Dentist

You never know when a connection to the 18th century will spring up. I have an amateur interest in forensics, and have for about twenty years; but just recently I came across an interesting fact. We think of Paul Revere as being, amongst other things, a patriotic messenger during the American Revolution. It turns out that he may have been the first forensic odontologist as well.

On top of being a silversmith and engraver, Revere was also a dentist, and in 1776 he was able to identify the body of none other than Dr. Joseph Warren, (the man who sent him on his now-famous ride) by the wiring and hippo tusk partial he had made for him. Since Dr. Warren and many others had been buried for months since the battle of Bunker Hill, forensic dentistry was one of the only ways in which the bodies could be positively identified.

Neat, huh?

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