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Saturday, 24 February 2018
Become a Fossil
Death comes to us all, how you are memorialized is different across cultures
In this video we look at a couple of the ways your body could stick around long after your passing.
There is no escaping it death comes to us all, well for the moment any hows we haven’t quiet cracked immortality yet, and when we die it’s time to deal with the remaining body.
Most funeral practices are focused on the disposal of a corpse in the most respectful manner relative to the culture the deceased was from.
But what if you didn’t want your body destroyed what if you wanted it to go on long after your passing?
Here are some options.
First let’s go with an all-natural method.
We have all seen the great reconstructions of dinosaurs, their bones and the natural preservation of their skeletal likeness in rock surviving million years.
Could we too become exhibit class fossil?
If we look at all life that has existed on the planet much of it has not been preserved in this way, only 10th of 1 % of all species that have ever lived managed to become fossils.
Bill Bryson recently published his book “A Short History of Nearly Everything,”
In which he states that out of the 320 million people in the US today only a small number of bones would manage the miracle of fossilization.
He thinks that as little as 60 bones or less only 25% of a human skeleton would become fossilized.
But this being said if you fancy becoming a fossil you can improve your chances.
Have your body buried deep and quickly, this is important as you need to be buried under good sediment and then altered physically and chemically deep underground to become a fossil.
You need to be deep enough to not be in the “ta/pho/nom/ically active zone” The zone where your body is at risk of being exhumed or eaten and scattered by scavengers, or exposed to the elements for too long. And you don’t want them to be bored into or shifted around by burrowing animals.
Also choose a good soil type. If you can, try to be buried in a mud slide or a volcanic eruption as these natural disasters can really help preserve your body.
Near Water is also a good location
The best fossils come out of lakes and river systems.
They provide an anoxic’ environment: one very low in oxygen, where animals and microorganisms that would digest and disturb your remains can’t survive.
Just make sure that sediment is rapidly accumulating as to bury your body rapidly.
And talking of covering the body you may want to avoid coffins.
They can block the minerals you really want to seep into your bones, replacing them with harder mineral substances.
This is the process of ‘permineralisation’, this is what creates a lasting fossil
This perminralisation also has a better chance of happening in a mineral rich water flow, this water needs to flow through the bone and fortify them with things like iron and calcium.
If you looking for the best spot, try to have your body buried in an area with high levels of calcite, a form of calcium carbonate which is perfect for preserving bone.
Now you have your fossilization plan in place try to remember the larger natural forces too, don’t be buried on fault lines or in areas of high tectonic activity.
For our tip!
If you keep something with you that could mark you location, something that will be preserved with your bones but have a greater potential of being discovered.
Think plastic and alloys, these materials aren’t biodegradable and would be easier to spot than fossil you.
If this sounds like leaving too much to chance you could go the way of a man made fossil or piece of art depending on how you look at it.
As we just mentioned plastics are good medium of preservation as they are not biodegradable and thus will be around for millions of years.
So let’s make our body plastic!
This is the process of a body being taken after death and turned into a mannequin of sorts.
Firstly your body will need to be filled with chemicals such as Formaldehyde, this kills bacteria and aids in the preservation of the body.
The Skin, fatty and connective tissues need to be removed, this dissection can take between 500 to 1,000 hours.
Then the process of plastination can begin.
The water and soluble fats are dissolved from the body in a bath of acetone.
Then liquid polymer, silicone rubber, polyester or epoxy resin are used to cover the body, a vacuum is then created to make the acetone boil and vaporize.
This draws the liquid polymer into the body, the polymer can then penetrate each and every last cell.
At this point your body is still flexible so don’t forget to leave instruction as to how you would like to pose for the few thousand years.
When you have been bent and twisted into the correct position a mired of wires, needles, clamps, and foam blocks will hold you in place as you harden over the coming weeks and months.
You are almost there, just one final step to keep your carcass around for millennia.
Curing or hardening occurs when heat or gas is used to harden the body and protect the plastinate from decaying.
Once you are hard you can be put on display for the world to see or used as a coat rack?
Whatever your last will testament instructed?
Would you choose to have your body preserved or is the idea just too macabre?
Can you think of any other ways to preserve the body long after death, if you can let me know ion the comments below.
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