The Great Dead Body Teachers

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'Since I was a child, I've been interested in dead bodies. When I was eight years old, I dug up the remains of my pet budgie Zazbut. He had been buried for about eight weeks in a patch of grass outside our house in Dasmarinas, a fortified village in Manila, in the Philippines.

'The first exhumation was the beginning of my intrigue with death, which has persisted. As a journalist, I've written about graveyards, funerals and death doulas. I always visit the local cemetery wherever I am in the world. But one thing that has largely been hidden from me in this death trip is the dead body.'

Dissection might not be a normal topic to contemplate but when both your paternal grandparents donate their bodies to science it does intermittently cross your mind. This is the story of how Jackie Dent's grandparents--Ruby and Julie--gave their bodies to science when they died. No one in her family seems to know why, or what really happened with their bodies afterwards. Were they avid science buffs? Was it to save on cremation costs? How do scientists tackle the practicalities and ethics of cutting up the dead for research? And who are body donors generally?

Weaving the personal with the history of anatomy and the dissected, Jackie Dent explores the world of whole-body donation -- all the while looking for answers as to what happened to her grandparents.