Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Chapter 6, The Cadaver Who Joined the Army Summary & Analysis

Mary Roach
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Chapter 6, The Cadaver Who Joined the Army Summary and Analysis

Chapter 6 addresses cadavers in weapons and ballistics research. Roach relates the story of Captain Louis Le Garde of the U.S. Army Medical Corps, who in 1893, was ordered to use cadavers to test two rifles: the new 30 caliber Springfield and the standard issue 45 caliber. The hope was that the smaller caliber would prove less deadly but just as effective at stopping the enemy. The experiment was inconclusive since stopping power cannot be judged against something which is already stopped.

Most ballistics research is done on animals with similar anatomy to human beings. Roach is curious as to why people fall down when shot, even when not seriously wounded. Ballistics expert Duncan McPherson, of the Los Angeles Police Department, believes the behavior is purely psychological. People fall because they realize...

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This section contains 589 words
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