Autopsy and Necropsy (nouns, “AWE-top-see” and “NEH-crop-see”)
These words describe examinations of a dead body to find the cause of death. Autopsy is the term for examining dead people. Necropsy refers to such probes in other animals. Both types try to find out how an individual died. These examinations also may be used to find out if the deceased had been sick or injured before death.
In a sentence
When they find a dead whale or other endangered species, scientists will often perform a necropsy to try to figure out how it died. In people, an autopsy can determine how a virus might have entered the brain.
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autopsy Examination of body tissues after a person dies, typically performed to determine the cause of death.
endangered An adjective used to describe species at risk of going extinct.
necropsy An examination of an animal’s body to establish how it died.