Mumificirana mačka. Vir: Wikimedia Commons
Mumificirana mačka. Vir: Wikimedia Commons

Computer Reveals Inside of Animal Mummies

Do you know mummies from Ancient Egypt? Of course, who doesn’t?! But few know that the Ancient Egyptians not only mummified humans but also animals.

A group of scientists managed to combine thousands of X-ray images with a special method of computer simulation and thus look inside three mummified animals.

They saw the skeletons of a cat, snake and bird on the computer screen. Upon closer analysis of the bones, many details were noticed that tell the story of the life and death of these animals as well as the people who mummified them.

Based on the cat’s milk teeth, it was concluded that it was a kitten younger than five months. The position of her spine indicates that she had a broken neck.

They were able to determine the species by the shape of the skeleton of the bird and snake. The bird has been classified as a kestrel, and the snake is a young Egyptian cobra.

Mumificirana ptica. Vir: Wikimedia Commons
Mummified bird, Egypt, 2000-100 BCE. Credit: Science Museum, London/Wikimedia Commons

The Egyptian cobra had severely damaged kidneys, indicating that it lacked water during its lifetime. She also had visible signs of sacrifice in a religious ceremony.

A look inside the mummified animals reveals new information about the life and beliefs of the Ancient Egyptians. They believed that by turning the corpse of an animal or human into a mummy, they made the transition to the afterlife possible.

Mummified animals were sent to the gods in this way, allowing them to pass into eternity. Wealthy pharaohs also mummified their domestic animals to keep them company even in the afterlife.

»We used state-of-the-art scientific technology,« commented research leader Richard Johnston. »With these new tools, we can look at the life and death of animals 2,000 years ago in a different way.«

The development of new technologies and the possibility of looking inside mummies in a way already proves their successful path to eternity.

Points to Consider

  1. Do you know any deity from Ancient Egypt?
  2. Do you think about life after death?
  3. How much do you know about mummification?


The original version of this article was published on August 28th.

English translation courtesy of JL FlannerTotal Slovenia News, an English language website with news from and about Slovenia.


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