Anomalies

 

Anomalies

As my colleague, Aisling, describes in detail here, we in the Visual Media Workshop have been transcribing Bertillon cards for the Decomposing Bodies project.  The cards have measurements for limbs and digits on the left side of the body (left arm, left middle finger, left little finger), but today I found one which randomly included a few measurements for the right side.  I initially thought this may have been due to circumstances that prevented measuring the left side the second time (some cards include a second set of measurements taken at a later time) such as loss of an extremity -- except there appears to be an original measurement for the right middle finger.  Several hundred transcriptions have been done at this point, yet this is the first instance of right side measurements we've come across.  It's always possible that Hastings (the principle officer recording the measurements) just decided to try something different that day, but it seems unlikely.  Given the systematic and detailed classification of the human body being undertaken here, I doubt Hastings was ever acting on a whim.  It will be interesting to see if we discover more anomalous measurements in the cards and what patterns, if any, we can find.     

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