Lock Of Hair May Hold Answer To Leonardo Da Vinci's Final Resting Place
On the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death, we may finally know the true resting place of the Renaissance master.
A piece of hair from a private collection in the U.S. will have its DNA compared with bones from da Vinci's presumed burial place in France.
The hair, known as 'Les Cheveux de Leonardo da Vinci', has documents certifying its ancient France provenance, said Alessandro Vessozi, the director of the Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci and Agnese Sabato, the president of the Leonardo da Vinci Heritage Foundation.
"This extraordinary find will allow us to proceed in the quest to isolate da Vinci's DNA," they said in a statement seen by CNN.
While da Vinci had no children, descendants have been found from a "direct and uninterrupted" line from his half-brother Domenico, Vezzosi said.
"This allows us to begin the analysis of comparing this biological sample with the living descendants that we know of, and whom I met three years ago," he said.
"And also with the buried remains of Leonardo's descendants."
Vezzosi also added these descendants can still be matched because they all share the same Y chromosome.
"To be clear, it is correct to talk about the descendants of Leonardo because at a scientific level, as descendants of his father and brother Domenico conserve the Y chromosome that can be matched with that of Leonardo," he said.
"Even if 10, 12 or even 15 generations have passed."
Da Vinci died in 1519 at the age of 67 from a suspected stroke.
Bones discovered in 1863 at the Collegiate Church of Saint-Florentin at the Château d'Amboise in the French Loire Valley have long been thought to be da Vinci's.
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The church was destroyed during the French Revolution and rebuilt 1807, leading many to doubt the authenticity of the bones.
French poet Arsène Houssaye, who discovered the bones, claimed they were were da Vinci's becau, and they were reinterred at the Chapel of Saint-Hubert on the Chateux's premises.