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Professor, dead since 2002, is teaching anatomy again

Posted by Christopher Shea  April 16, 2009 10:14 AM

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Professor Krantz, reconstructed at the Smithsonian

Gordon S. "Grover" Krantz, a quirky professor of osteology -- the study of bones -- at Washington State University who died in 2002, had an unusual suggestion for how his remains be handled after his death: He wanted his skeleton to be reconstructed in a museum -- along with, if possible, one or more of his dogs'.

He and his wife were told it was a longshot, but the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History has finally granted his wish. He is the show-stopping final display in the exhibit "Written in Bone," a study of Colonial-era grave sites in the Chesapeake Bay region. A rebuilt skeletal Krantz is shown embracing "Clyde," an Irish wolfhound he had owned; Clyde is leaping into the erect Krantz's arms.

The museum accepted Krantz's remains in 2003, but officials told his wife that they would likely remain in a drawer somewhere, because reconstruction would be too costly. But the curator of "Written in Bone" was search of a memorable way to cap off his exhibition, and asked the in-house taxidermist at the natural-history museum if he'd be willing to give it a shot. Unsurprisingly, the taxidermist did not count humans in his areas of expertise. Still, he pulled it off. Horton, who'd last set eyes on her husband two days after his death, saw him again a few weeks ago -- as thousands of tourists now can, too.

During his lifetime, Krantz was perhaps best known for his steadfast belief that Bigfoot existed, and still roamed the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

(Photo: Linda Davidson, The Washington Post)

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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