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Give the body to science

This is a psychologically difficult, but interesting question – how do we treat ourselves after death. Someone categorically opposes the donation of organs and even cremation, he needs traditional funeral procedures, and in a beautiful coffin and according to certain rules, and also a large beautiful mausoleum or at least a marble stele with an angel (although often these are “wantlings” of relatives and acquaintances). 

And there was one interesting person who actually bequeathed himself and his friends to science …


Grover Sanders Krantz (1931-2002) was known as a teacher, pet lover, eccentric anthropologist and first scientist-hominolo. 

Before his death, Krantz said: “I have been a teacher all my life, and I think I can teach after death, so why should I give my body to science. But there is one condition: my dogs should be next to me. ” 

Grover Krantz was an interesting person, he collected skeletons of animals, at senior courses he published a scientific article about the differences between the bones of dogs and coyotes. He received a bachelor’s and master’s degree, but dropped out of the doctor’s program after quarreling with the professor. He did not get on with the professors at all, because he challenged them and was not tactful.

At 32, after two divorces and a failed professorial career, he stagnated. 

And then he bought a puppy. As big as he himself (Krantz was tall). He called the puppy Clyde. 

Clyde continued to grow and Krantz, as a scientist, meticulously measured the indicators of his growth. Eventually, Clyde reached 72 kg and, standing on his hind legs, was more than 2,1 m tall. 

“Grover loved this dog. Wherever he went he took Clyde with him. ” 

Clyde slept on an old sleeping bag on the floor near the bed of Krantz. One night, Krantz came home drunk and flopped down on the sleeping bag with Clyde. “In the morning I woke up on the floor and found the dog sleeping on my bed,” he wrote. “A fair exchange, I suppose.”

But wolfhounds usually have a short life, and Clyde has aged. He lost weight and wilted. The dog suffered from pneumonia and died in January 1973. 

“His death left me with the most empty, lonely sense of my life, before and after,” writes Krantz. 

Krantz buried Clyde in the frozen ground in his lawn. He already buried there many animals, ranging from the banally shot down on the road to the African lion. In anthropology, the cheapest way to study skeletons is to bury dead animals, and then dig them out after their bodies have disintegrated, the process takes about a year. But this time it was different. This time he buried a friend. 

“It looked as if he had lost a child,” recalls the professor of anthropology, one of the former students of Krantz.

Krantz fell sharply into a deep depression. Within six months his next marriage broke up. 

One day, a couple of years later, Krantz decided to dig Clyde to add the dog’s skeleton to his collection. But when he saw the skull of his dog in the mud, he stopped. He went into the house and drank a lot of wine for courage. Then he returned to the street and continued to dig and drink until he finished his work. Clyde’s skeleton was a magnificent specimen – the largest dog that Krantz had ever seen. When he cleared it, he thought about the bitterness of love. 

“Maybe we should not be so attached to other beings, be they humans, dogs or anyone else,” he wrote. “By giving ourselves so much to them, we only make ourselves vulnerable to the pain of losing them. But if we did not do this, we would not be human? “

Krantz started other Irish wolfhounds: Ikki, Yahu and Ralph. He loved them all, but not like Clyde. 

On Valentine’s Day 2002, Krantz died in his home from pancreatic cancer after an eight-month battle with the disease. At his request, there was no funeral. Instead, he wished his body was sent to the “corpses of corpses” of the University of Tennessee, where scientists are studying the rate of disintegration of the human body, to assist forensic medical examination. 

In 2003, his skeleton arrived at the National Museum of Natural History (Washington) where he was displayed alongside the bones of his three Irish wolfhounds – Clyde, Ikki and Yahu.

In 2009, the skeleton of Krantz was brought together with the skeleton of his beloved dog Clyde, modeling their famous joint photo, and exhibited in the museum hall. 

His fourth wife, did not visit his skeleton in the museum, for her it is too heavy. But after death, she thinks of joining her husband and dogs and thus becoming the first pair of skeletons.

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