Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Biotech Science

Modern Technology Reveals Mummy's Past 36

mamamia writes "The baby mummy had a European mom, and likely came from a wealthy family. But where he lived and why he died — and at such a young age — remain a mystery. The mummy, exhibited for the first time Thursday at the Saint Louis Science Center, has been the year-long focus of an international team of investigators. The museum said it may be the most extensive research project ever undertaken on a child mummy."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Modern Technology Reveals Mummy's Past

Comments Filter:
  • I assume everyone died a lot more often back then. What was the life expectancy? 30?
    • by brassman ( 112558 ) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @11:31AM (#18394331) Homepage
      "What's the death rate here?"
      "Same as everywhere - one each."
    • The life expectancy was surely higher if you belonged to the wealthier classes, as it is today.
    • by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @11:46AM (#18394421)

      I assume everyone died a lot more often back then.

      While I know of no evidence that people died more often than once each, we do know that they worshipped cats. Thus, you may be right. Perhaps they learned the secret and had nine lives each.
      • (not a joke): Yeah, in English, cats have nine lives, but in German (for example) they have only seven. I wonder how many they have in Coptic / ancient Egyptian, or other languages for that matter.

        For this reason in our house we use English while speaking with the cats, completely weirding out some visitors.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Stolen from Wiki:

      Neanderthal 20 Homo neanderthalensis is actually a different species from modern humans but is still in any case a fellow member of the genus homo.
      Upper Paleolithic 33 At age 15: 54[1][2][3]
      Neolithic 20
      Bronze Age 18[4]
      Classical Greece 28
      Classical Rome 28
      Medieval Britain 33
      End of 19th Century Western Europe 37
      Current world average 66 [5]
      Present Day Native Groups 34 At birth: 34
      At age 15: 54
      At age 50: 67[2][6]
      • Wikki is wrong. While there were genetic differences, neanderthalensis was very much the same species as modern humans. Modern theories places the demise of the neanderthal under the control of asimulation and not something that extinguished him. Thats right, he married/mated into what we consider normal humans and his genetic traits disolved through time.

        Neanderthalensis is no different of a species as an oriental person is different then a western European or American. He retain sub-species classification
        • by Ramze ( 640788 )
          Do you have some facts to back this up? I confess I'm not up on the cutting edge in palaeontology, but the last I heard the interbreeding theory had almost no evidence to support it. This article from Discovery's web site from November of 2006 states there is no evidence for this so far and that the two species separated over 500,000 years ago:

 al_hum.html?category=archaeology []

          I'm guessing from your harsh criticism of Wiki and the author of the specific pag
          • Here is a story [] claiming we still have the genes present in modern humans. If it was a seperate species, we would find simular genes but not the same ones. I cannot find the refernce to the movie making the claim. It would probably help if I could remeber the name. I'm sure someone else will help us with it.

            A quick google search lead me to this site hosted at Natural History Museum [] but claims This is the web version of a Smithsonian publication on Natural History for Educators. Museum professionals write []
            • by Ramze ( 640788 )
              While I follow your line of thinking... it really comes down to the definition of "species" -- which is really a difficult thing to define these days. I hear the definition itself is under review for changes. Some people define different species as being more than 5% different genetically -- enough to where they can no longer mate and produce fertile offspring. There's no easy rule for this anymore, though. Hybridization is more common than scientists once thought -- even between species that were thou
  • by bcat24 ( 914105 ) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @11:50AM (#18394437) Homepage Journal
    ...but what about Daddy? I'm sure he's got quite a history.
  • FTFA:

    Bowcock said it was amazing to get anything at all from 2,000-year-old DNA.

    More accurately: it is amazing to get anything at all from something 2,000 years old.

    researcher: Hello kiddo, what's your name?
    mummy: .....
    researcher: Who's your daddy?
    mummy: .....
    researcher: Do you know where you are?
    mummy: .....
    researcher: What is 1+1 ?
    mummy: 3 ?
    researcher: Holy shit... let's get the hell outta here!

  • Child mummy had an egyptian mom? That's news?
  • by metlin ( 258108 ) * on Sunday March 18, 2007 @12:38PM (#18394705) Journal
    Daddy was a Goa'uld and baby was Harcesis.

    Too bad Mommy Desala wasn't around to ascend the kiddo.
  • by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @12:38PM (#18394709) Homepage Journal
    Given that this mummy died well after the time of Alexander the great, having a mother with European ancestry is not at all surprising. Since the Ptolomies, who ruled Egypt from Alexander's conquest to the time of Cleopatra were all descended from a Macedonian general, one would expect lots of Macedonian genes in the Egyptian aristocracy. This would only be interesting of the mummy was from before the time of Alexander, i.e. before 323 BCE. Hell, given how much inbreeding those guys did, it'd be more surprising if there were Egyptian genes.

    This is not to say that the proofs are impressive...this sort of testing is cool stuff. But the results are pretty much what you'd expect knowing the history of the area.

    (The death at a young age is also hardly surprising given the mortality rates for children in that era.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by saforrest ( 184929 )
      Given that this mummy died well after the time of Alexander the great, having a mother with European ancestry is not at all surprising.

      Yes, it would not be surprising, but I have to question the conclusions. It is impossible, yes, impossible to conclude from genetic evidence that the mother was European. There is simply too much gene exchange between Europe and Egypt over the preceding centuries for mitochondrial genes to be so perfectly segregated.

      Presumably the child had a mitochondrial haplotype [] associ
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sgtrock ( 191182 )

        And all it takes is one migration to leave a "foriegn" genetic signature.

        Migration isn't even all that necessary. All it takes is one sweet talking sailor and a careless bar maid. :)
        • Migration isn't even all that necessary. All it takes is one sweet talking sailor and a careless bar maid. :)

          Well, in this case our enterprising adventurer needs to have been a woman (because mitochondrial DNA is female-line): a sweet-talking Xena of the waves, if you will.
          • by sgtrock ( 191182 )
            Would you buy the possibility of a captured slave, then?
            • Would you buy the possibility of a captured slave, then?

              Sure, that would work. (And we know from historical records that it happened regularly, too.)
  • There are some guy named Anatoly Fomenko. He was Mathematician. Somehow he try to resolve dates of Ancient Egyip Zodiac's then found interesting dates. Most of them shown after 1000 A.D.

    If we believe thim, entire choronogical history was Fiction...

    He says,
    Jesus born 1053 and Died 1086 A.D. First Crusade was punishement action against his death and so...

    Even he says, Real Jarusalem was Constatinopole...

    Scared, so scared...
    • Please report to the Illuminati reconditioning chamber.
      All white is black.
      Freedom is Responsibility.
      That is all.
    • by Hooya ( 518216 )
      > Even he says, Real Jarusalem was Constatinopole...

      Istanbul was Constantinople
      Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
      Been a long time gone, Constantinople
      Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night

      Every gal in Constantinople
      Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
      So if you've a date in Constantinople
      She'll be waiting in Istanbul

      Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
      Why they changed it I can't say
      People just liked it better that way

      So take me back to Constantinople
      No, you can't go back to Constantinople
  • A bleak piocture (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mattpointblank ( 936343 ) <> on Sunday March 18, 2007 @04:47PM (#18396275) Homepage
    Is this our future? Our corpses will be discovered in thousands of years, only for science to experiment and announce that our mothers were just Eurotrash? For shame, anthropology.
    • Thank you. I was just thinking the same thing. I would not like my dead body to dug up, poked and prodded, and then researched even further.

          Some people have no respect for the dead.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hcdejong ( 561314 )
        I was just thinking the opposite. What is it with this 'respect for the dead' nonsense? It's not as if the dead body minds, or will even notice.

        I mean, I can understand the mantra to a certain extent when it's about recently-deceased people, although in practice that's more about respect for the next-of-kin (and incredibly annoying even then, at least that's my reaction to the CSI scenes where they ask for permission to do an autopsy and the family refuses). But a 3-ky old mummy? Who cares?
  • We've got more child mummies than we know what to do with!

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray