The remains of Emperor Pedro I, founder and first ruler of the Empire of Brazil, were exhumed for the first time for study, a local daily reported Monday.
The remains of the emperor, who declared Brazilian independence in 1822, and his two wives, Leopoldina and Amelia, had been kept in Brazil's Independence Memorial in Sao Paulo since 1972.
Last year, the remains were taken from the crypt after historian and archeologist Valdirene do Carmo Ambiel received permission from the royal family's descendants.
The study on them can help experts to clarify mysteries of the life and death of the emperor and his family. For example, by analyzing the emperor's remains, scientists have confirmed that he was a man of athletic build, as depicted in history books.
They have also confirmed that Pedro I broke four left ribs, which rendered his left lung practically useless and probably caused the tuberculosis that killed him in 1834.
Tests have also overthrown a popular theory about the death of Empress Leopoldina. According to previous records, she had fallen or been thrown by the Emperor down the stairs of the palace and broken a femur, which caused her premature death. However, CAT scans showed the empress never broke any bone in her life.
Scientists were also surprised to discover that the body of Empress Amelia, Pedro I's second wife, was mummified. Her hair, eyelashes, nails and some internal organs, such as the uterus, were perfectly preserved, even though there were no previous records of any special conservation techniques used on the empress's corpse.
Pedro I reigned over Brazil from 1822 to 1831. In the latter year, he stepped down in favor of his son, who was five years old at the time.