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The Search for a Secret Smile

Researchers are opening up a tomb in the hopes of uncovering the bones of Lisa Gherardini Del Giocondo, who is thought to be the inspiration for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, NBC News reports.

The tomb, located at the site former Ursuline convent in Florence where Gherardini is thought to be buried, contains a number of skeletons. The bones will first undergo carbon-14 dating to determine whether the skeletons come from the 1500s. If any do, then they will undergo DNA testing to see if they match the DNA found in the bones of Gherardini's sons. And if a match is found, Silvano Vinceti, the head of Italy's national committee for cultural heritage, plans to commission a reconstruction of her face, to compare it to the famous painting.

However, Kristina Killgrove, a University of West Florida bioarchaeologist, tells NBC News that she is uncertain as to how scientific the process will be. "This will probably bring in some tourist dollars, but other than confirming that this is the Mona Lisa, I don't see any scholarly relevance to it," Killgrove tells NBC News, adding that the bones appear to be in "fairly poor condition."