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In Images: A Statue with Human Teeth

Christ of Patience

(Image credit: INAH TV, YouTube, (ENCRyM))

In 2014, Fanny Unikel and her colleagues at the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia were restoring a wooden statue of Jesus that came from a small town in Mexico when they discovered an amazing detail: The statue had real human teeth. [Read full story]

Common artform

the christ of patience

(Image credit: INAH TV, YouTube, ENCRyM)

The statue was one of several they restored from a little town outside Mexico City. Wooden statues like this are common throughout Mexico, and they often have real hair, glass eyes and teeth and nails from animal bone. [Read full story]

God's teeth!

christ of patience x-ray

(Image credit: ENCRyM-INAH)

But Unikel had never seen real human teeth in a statue before. The physical anthropologist on the team first discovered them on X-rays of the statue. [Read full story]

Mystery owner

a profile view of christ of patience.

(Image credit: ENCRyM-INAH)

It's not clear exactly how this statue came to get the teeth, but they were in good condition, with even the roots present. [Read full story]

Different body concept

jesus statue x-ray of teeth

(Image credit: ENCRym-INAH)

Though it seems odd today, people more often donated body parts to religious institutions during this period of time. [Read full story]

Restorer and statue

jesus of patience with fanny unikel

(Image credit: ENCRyM - INAH)

Here, Fanny Unikel describing the new discovery. [Read full story]

Tia Ghose
Tia Ghose

Tia is the managing editor and was previously a senior writer for Live Science. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Wired.com and other outlets. She holds a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington, a graduate certificate in science writing from UC Santa Cruz and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tia was part of a team at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that published the Empty Cradles series on preterm births, which won multiple awards, including the 2012 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.