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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Nov 13, 2018. 11 comments

Ancient Cat Mummies and More Discovered in Egyptian Tombs

Ancient Cat Mummies and More Discovered in Egyptian Tombs

Archaeologists working at a pyramid complex south of Cairo have discovered dozens of cat mummies, along with troves of wooden statues and a rare collection of mummified scarab beetles.

The secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, shared details of the remarkable finding at a press conference held this past Saturday, the Irish Times reports. Waziri said a...

11 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Sep 28, 2018. 3 comments

Scientists Can Now Peek Inside Mummies in a Whole New Way

Scientists Can Now Peek Inside Mummies in a Whole New Way

A revved-up version of traditional CT scanning shows it’s possible to acquire microscopic-scale images of ancient Egyptian mummies, revealing previously unseen features such as blood vessels and nerves.

Non-destructive x-ray and CT scans are a boon to medical scientists and healthcare practitioners, but they’re also an indispensable tool for archaeologists who try not to disturb ancient...

3 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Aug 16, 2018. 3 comments

Ancient Egyptians Mastered Mummification Long Before the Time of Pharaohs

Ancient Egyptians Mastered Mummification Long Before the Time of Pharaohs

The earliest mummies are typically associated with the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt, but as an intensive examination of a 5,600-year-old mummy confirms, the methods used for this iconic funeral practice date back to well before the age of pharaohs.

The practice of mummification and the techniques used for embalming (such as the use of resins) were thought to have originated in ancient Egypt’s...

3 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jul 25, 2018. 7 comments

Experts Say Recent ‘Alien’ Mummy Study Was Deeply Flawed and Unethical

Experts Say Recent ‘Alien’ Mummy Study Was Deeply Flawed and Unethical

Earlier this year, scientists from Stanford University concluded that a strange skeleton known as the Atacama Mummy belonged to a human girl whose physical malformations were the result of several severe genetic mutations. A team of international experts is now questioning these findings, and accusing the scientists of breaching standard research ethics.

The Atacama Mummy, or Ata as it’s...

7 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jul 13, 2018. 9 comments

Ötzi the Iceman’s Final Meal Was Surprisingly Hearty

Ötzi the Iceman’s Final Meal Was Surprisingly Hearty

Since the discovery of his mummified body nearly 30 years ago, Ötzi the Iceman has provided scientists with heaps of information about Copper Age Europeans. An updated analysis of his stomach contents is providing a glimpse into the iceman’s final meal, which was remarkably high in fats.

Ötzi the Iceman’s 5,300-year-old body was accidentally discovered in 1991 by hikers in the Eastern Italian...

9 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jun 24, 2018. 18 comments

Final Days of Ötzi the Iceman Revealed Through New Analysis of His Tools

Final Days of Ötzi the Iceman Revealed Through New Analysis of His Tools

Ötzi the Iceman is the gift that keeps on giving. Found embedded in a glacier in 1991, the 5,300-year-old mummy has offered unprecedented insights into Copper Age Europe. A new analysis of Ötzi’s equipment shows what he was up to in the hours before an archer drove an arrow straight into his back.

The Ötzi mummy has provided scientists with an astounding amount of data in the 27 years since...

18 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jun 02, 2018. 8 comments

Ancient Egyptian Mummified 'Hawk' Is Actually a Stillborn Human Baby

Ancient Egyptian Mummified 'Hawk' Is Actually a Stillborn Human Baby

High-resolution micro-CT scanning has shown that an Egyptian mummy thought to be a bird is really a stillborn human baby, a surprising discovery that’s providing a rare glimpse into the complex cultural practices that existed some 2,100 years ago.

For the Western University anthropologists who analyzed the mummy, it’s a fascinating glimpse into ancient Egypt, but for the family who endured...

8 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Mar 31, 2018. 13 comments

Chile Is Seriously Pissed About the ‘Alien’ Mummy Study

Chile Is Seriously Pissed About the ‘Alien’ Mummy Study

A study published a week ago about an enigmatic, six-inch-long skeleton found near the Atacama Desert is causing serious upset among Chile’s scientists and government officials, who are now claiming the specimen was illegally obtained by grave robbers.

As Carl Zimmer reports in the New York Times, the Chilean National Monuments Council, a government agency, has launched an investigation into...

13 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Mar 28, 2018. 10 comments

Supposedly Empty Egyptian Coffin Actually Contains a Mummy

Supposedly Empty Egyptian Coffin Actually Contains a Mummy

For the past 150 years, the cedar coffin of an ancient Egyptian priestess has been on display at a museum in Australia. Records suggested the 2,500-year-old sarcophagus was empty, so no one bothered to look inside. Last year, museum curators finally opened the lid, and to their shock, the coffin contained an actual mummy—bandages and all.

When the lid of the coffin was removed, the Nicholson...

10 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Mar 23, 2018. 24 comments

'Alien' Mummy Found in Atacama Desert Is Actually a Tiny, Mutated Human

'Alien' Mummy Found in Atacama Desert Is Actually a Tiny, Mutated Human

Back in 2003, a strange skeleton was discovered in a deserted Chilean town in the Atacama Desert. Featuring an elongated skull, sunken eye sockets, and an impossibly tiny body, some suggested it was of extraterrestrial origin. An updated genetic analysis confirms the skeleton as being human—but with an unprecedented variety of mutations.

Preserved by dry desert conditions, “Ata,” as the...

24 Comments

Ed Cara Ed Cara Jan 07, 2018. 10 comments

Scientists Discover 16th-Century Child Mummy Had Seemingly Modern Strain of Hepatitis B

Scientists Discover 16th-Century Child Mummy Had Seemingly Modern Strain of Hepatitis B

It’s a microscopic case of mistaken identity. A new study published in PLOS Pathogens has found that a 16th-century mummified child may have actually been infected by an ancient strain of hepatitis B, not smallpox as scientists believed for decades. But the finding, if correct, adds even more mystery as to how this still widespread, often fatal virus has evolved and plagued humanity over...

10 Comments

Maddie Stone Maddie Stone Nov 21, 2017. 16 comments

Siberian Miners Definitely Didn't Just Find a Demon Baby

Siberian Miners Definitely Didn't Just Find a Demon Baby

Diamond miners in the remote Siberian town of Udachny received quite a shock this week, when instead of pulling shiny rocks from the sand they unearthed a bizarre mummified creature that looks more than a little like the escaped spawn of that three-jawed dog monster in The Thing. Is anything ever normal in Siberia?

According to the Siberian Times, the animal was found in a diamond-rich sand...

16 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Sep 16, 2017. 14 comments

An Autopsy On A 700-Year-Old Mummy Confirms He Was Murdered

An Autopsy On A 700-Year-Old Mummy Confirms He Was Murdered

Using modern forensic techniques, a team of archaeologists have conducted an autopsy on the naturally preserved mummy of Cangrande della Scala. As suspected, the researchers have confirmed that the medieval Italian warlord was in fact assassinated.

Cangrande died suddenly in 1329 at the age of 38. He was a big deal at the time, the most celebrated member of the Scala dynasty which ruled...

14 Comments

Cheryl Eddy Cheryl Eddy Sep 06, 2017. 22 comments

Scan Reveals This Buddha Statue Has A Mummy Inside

Scan Reveals This Buddha Statue Has A Mummy Inside

This is no ordinary Buddha statue. As the CT scan at the right clearly shows, there's a mummy concealed inside!

This fascinating artifact is currently on display as part of a mummy-themed exhibit at the Netherlands' Drents Museum (link also offers a glimpse of a particularly rad cat mummy). It's the first time the "Buddha mummy" has been shown outside of China; according to the museum, the...

22 Comments

Charlie Jane Anders Charlie Jane Anders Sep 06, 2017. 12 comments

Mummy Cat Is The Utterly Adorable Undead Creature That Your Kids Will Love

Mummy Cat Is The Utterly Adorable Undead Creature That Your Kids Will Love

Everybody loves spooky creatures and weird apparitions—but a new book about a mummified cat, called appropriately Mummy Cat, is especially wonderful. Writer Marcus Ewert and artist Lisa Brown have created a lovely children’s book about a cat who comes back every 100 years.

Amazon product 0544340825

In Mummy Cat, a loyal feline companion was mummified with his queen, after they both suffered a...

12 Comments

Carli Velocci Carli Velocci Sep 05, 2017. 6 comments

Ancient Egyptians Could've Been Fat and Lazy Too

Ancient Egyptians Could've Been Fat and Lazy Too

Don’t let anyone tell you that the modern diet is significantly worse than the diets of ancient populations. Apparently, even the wealthiest of our ancestors could’ve been lazy and fat too.

The remains of a 2,200-year-old priest went up on display for the first time at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on Tuesday, and examination of the mummy via a CT scan found that the man, known as...

6 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Aug 31, 2017. 13 comments

Many Ancient Egyptian Animal Mummies Aren't What They Appear To Be

Many Ancient Egyptian Animal Mummies Aren't What They Appear To Be

An extensive scanning project has revealed that about one-third of all ancient Egyptian animal mummies are devoid of animal remains, and are instead bundles of cloth filled with mud, sticks, and reeds.

As reported in the BBC, the scanning project, in which more than 800 animal mummies were analyzed with X-rays and CT scans, was conducted at Manchester University and the University of...

13 Comments

Aug 31, 2017. 10 comments

Undying Love: Carl Tanzler's Mummified Dream Girl

Undying Love: Carl Tanzler's Mummified Dream Girl

For one obsessed suitor, death and decaying flesh couldn’t keep him from his one true sweetheart. America has long been the land of fulfilling one’s hopes and dreams. Or visions, as was the case of a German transplant by the name of Carl Tanzler.

Tanzler emigrated to Zephyrillis, Florida — his wife and two daughters accompanying him later — only for him to leave his family soon after. He...

10 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Aug 19, 2017. 13 comments

Ötzi the Iceman Was Making Prosciutto Over 5,000 Years Ago

Ötzi the Iceman Was Making Prosciutto Over 5,000 Years Ago

New research on Ötzi the Iceman, an exquisitely preserved 5,300-year-old human found in a European glacier, shows that he ate a form of dry-cured meat known as “speck”—a fatty, bacon-like snack that’s still found on charcuterie boards today.

In other words, prehistoric, Copper Age Europeans were eating a form of prosciutto over 5,000 years ago. The remarkable discovery was made by European...

13 Comments

Sarah Zhang Sarah Zhang Aug 18, 2017. 19 comments

The World's Oldest Mummies Are Suddenly Turning Into Black Goo

The World's Oldest Mummies Are Suddenly Turning Into Black Goo

Having survived 8,000 years, the Chinchorro mummies found in modern-day Chile and Peru have started decaying more quickly than ever before—in some cases even melting into gelatinous "black ooze." Scientists at Harvard think they've found the reason why.

The mummies, the oldest manmade ones in the world, originate with the Chinchorro people, who preserved their dead by filling the bodies with...

19 Comments

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