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There are many theories as well as reasons over the fate of the members of the Franklin Expedition. John Rae had stated that many of the members had fell subject to cannibalism, and Beattie in later years confirmed Rae’s theory by stating that there were plenty of cut marks on the bones that show signs of cannibalism. John Harrington writes that The "frost bite theory" doesn't hold water when you see evidence of knife marks on such bones as pelvis, collar bones and vertebra in the neck’ This heavily implicates that towards the end of the failed expedition, many men may have fell subject to cannibalism. Inuit reports also stated the same thing.However, cannibalism was not the only reason for death. When Owen Beattie ran autopsies on the bodies he found, he concluded that John Torrington had died from pneumonia. On the other hand, he said that his condition was ‘aggravated by a high exposure to lead’. When running the second autopsy on Hartnell, Beattie and his team deduced that he had died from tuberculosis. When running the final autopsy on William Braine, they had found that his left arm had been amputated and placed under his body in the coffin. He also had bite marks on his neck and shoulders, as well as other areas in his body—not human bite-marks, but teeth marks from rats. William Braine had been chewed on by rats, prior to his burial, which shows that he was not buried right after his death and had been exposed to rats, and perhaps other elements before burial. Dr Owen Beattie had gathered samples of hair, tissues, bones and organs from all three bodies for further scientific analysis to see if there was any more information that he could gather about their deaths. The results that he had gathered from the samples show that all three corpses had high levels of lead in all their bodies. Dr Owen Beattie had concluded that their bodies all had high exposure to lead through the five thousand tin cans that they had brought along with their journey. Majority of the expedition’s nourishment came from the tinned food they had, and after being run aground in their ships for eighteen months, everyone would have had high exposure to lead, weakening themselves and fuelling any illness that anyone had in their bodies.
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