Casimir Pulaski

I just learned about a war hero named Casimir Pulaski who led troops into battle against Russian occupying forces in his native Poland. He later fought here in the United States during the American Revolution, where he commanded four cavalry regiments in Washington's armies.

Apparently he was so exceptional that he was singled out by George Washington and the Continental Congress and was credited as the Father of the American Cavalry. There's even Casimir Pulaski Day, which is a holiday observed in Illinois on the first Monday of every March in his memory. This holiday is also observed in Wisconsin public schools.

Back in the day his remains were dug up and for ten years the findings were kept a secret, due to a required pledge to the Pulaski Identification Committee in Savannah. The conclusions were finally released in 2007, stating: "the collected evidence is consistent in remarkable detail with the physical appearance, life history, and cavalry lifestyle of Casimir Pulaski."

And what did they find? Given the nature of this blog the results won't surprise you, but after examining the physical evidence related to his human remains, it was discovered that he was born female-bodied. Surprise!  Professor Karol Sliwka and Professor Tomasz Grzyb, DNA specialists conducting research for Nicolaus Copernicus University in Bydgoszcz, Poland commented on these conclusions with the opinion that this thesis was "highly probable."

The physical characteristics of the skeleton in height, stature, age and ethnicity are all consistent in every component with the 5' 3" tall, slender, 34 year old Polish nobleman, including even the shape of the face and forehead. The healed wounds on the face and skull, healed injury on the forehead, broken nose and cheek bone are true to form with an experienced military man occasionally engaged in hand-to-hand combat. The broken fingers on the right hand of the skeleton match the description in Pulaski's own letters about the debilitating injury that he received to his right hand. The extension of cartilage and the wear of cartilage surrounding hip and shoulder bones are to be expected from persons who spent their life in the saddle bearing a sword in combat. The fusion of the tail bone adds to the physiological evidence that reflect the effects of a life as a horseman.

Even the apparent tumor under his left eye that is represented on the skull by a damaged area of bone and its discoloration is also clearly reflected in an 18th century portrait as a birth mark on the painting in the same position relative to the left eye. Read more >

As I rant and rave about constantly, human gender and sexuality is often perceived as two distinct categories of either male or female. It isn't just a recent phenomenon that many of us do not conform or fit into this dichotomy, as history and our modern society continue to demonstrate. If we exclude the vast variations when it comes to biology (for example, like how on the Y chromosome, a gene called SRY usually makes a fetus grow as a male. It turns out, though, that SRY can show up on an X, turning an XX fetus essentially male. And if the SRY gene does not work on the Y, the fetus develops essentially female.) and only focus on the anatomical manifestations, from one to two percent of human beings exhibit sexual ambiguity so that physically they cannot be classified as exclusively male or exclusively female, which has been known for ages.

Yet, we have this contemporary idea of choosing between one of two gender roles - which dates from the Middle Ages in Europe when society established male hereditary rights. Over the years the issue of a continuum concerning a range of maleness to femaleness has been largely suppressed and forgotten, and even adamantly perpetuated and reinforced all over society - even by more liberal camps like radical feminists (the most popular in higher education sociology courses; but only one of many types of feminists) with gender binary/segregated concepts like "the patriarchy".

Sexual/gender variation may be even more common than realized because of the private nature of such experiences. For example, there is a whole slew of data indicating that the number of people whose bodies differ in some way from typical definitions of male or female anatomy is 1 in 100 births, which leaves even more possibilities when it comes to physiological/neurological variation.

Back to our good friend Casimir Pulaski who was mortally wounded and ultimately died in the Siege of Savannah on October 9th, 1779. His remains are all kinds of warrior jacked up.

On January 13, 1770, when Pulaski was in a guerilla war, he was injured in a battle with Russian forces near Grab. He dictated letters at the time, he reported that due his broken right hand, he was unable to personally write a letter for weeks. The examination of the skeleton and X-rays of the bones revealed that two fingers on the right hand were broken during life and healed long before death. Burns noted: "the fifth metacarpal healed with a pronounced palmar curve." In other words, the skeletal remains indicated a deformed right hand due to injury from broken bones that would have been painful during life but healed. This is consistent with this unique characteristic reported concerning Pulaski's right hand.

He had athritis, a wear pattern on thigh bone and pelvic stress with his tailbone fused to the sacrum from lots of horseback riding, on and on. What the stereotypically macho hell. Oh, and according to Wikipedia there's some 80s post-hardcore band called Big Black that have a song titled "Kasimir S. Pulaski Day" on their album Songs About Fucking.

2 comments:

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