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what is thanatology

Thanatology is the scientific study of death. It investigates the mechanisms and forensic aspects of death, such as bodily changes that accompany death and the post-mortem period, as well as wider psychological and social aspects related to death. It is primarily an interdisciplinary study offered as a course of study at numerous colleges and universities.

The word is derived from the Greek language. In Greek mythology, Thanatos (θάνατος: “death”) is the personification of death. The English suffix -ology derives from the Greek suffix -logia (-λογια: “speaking”).

Russian scientist, Élie Metchnikoff was famous for his work in microbiology and the discovery of phagocytosis. “Phagocytosis is the process by which a cell – often a phagocyte or protist – engulfs a solid particle to form an internal compartment known as a phagosome.” In 1903, he established a scientific discipline devoted to the study of death. He argued that those who were dying had few or no resources for the experience of dying and that an academic study would help those facing death to have a better understanding of the phenomenon and reduce their fear of it