2000-year-old foetus was discovered in the belly of an Egyptian mummy

Date:28 January 2022 Author: Micayla Vellai Tags:, , , ,

History aficionados – prepare to have your mind blown! A 2000-year-old foetus was discovered in the belly of an Egyptian mummy.

Polish researchers made the fascinating discovery which is the first time in history that such a finding has ever been recorded.

The research was conducted specifically by The Warsaw Mummy Project, which is headed by bio-archeologist Marzena Ożarek-Szilke from the University of Warsaw, and archaeologist Woljclech Ejsmond from the Polish Academy of Sciences.

These researchers reportedly discovered that the foetus itself was preserved and remained in the untouched uterus. This comes as a result of it being “pickled,” keeping it intact over the millennia since the mummy died.

“Blood pH in corpses, including content of the uterus, falls significantly, becoming more acidic, concentrations of ammonia and formic acid increase with time. The placement and filling of the body with natron significantly limited the access of air and oxygen. The end result is an almost hermetically sealed uterus containing the foetus,” the researchers express in a blog post.

“The change from alkaline to acidic environment led to partial decomposition of the foetal bones, especially to washing out minerals – of which there was not much anyway, because mineralisation is very weak during the first two trimesters of pregnancy and accelerates later.

“This process of bone demineralisation in acidic environment can be compared to an experiment with an egg. Picture putting an egg into a pot filled with an acid. The eggshell is dissolving, leaving only the inside of the egg (albumen and yolk) and the minerals from the eggshell dissolved in the acid. A similar dissolution of bones occurs in the acidic environment of bogs. The bog bodies sometimes do not have bones because of a similar process,” they add.

In their case, they have two different mummies because of the two different mummification processes. The foetus was said to be in an acidic environment that later dried-up during the embalming of the mother.

They go on to explain in their blog post that during the mummification process, the deceased woman was covered with a sodium called natron  in order to dry the body but this also resulted in the drying of the uterus and foetus.

“So, another mummification process happened, the mineralisation of the foetus,” they explain.

“During the drying minerals from bones, which were dissolved in the amniotic fluid, deposited in the soft tissues of the foetus and uterus. As an effect, there are the highly mineralised foetus and uterus.”

Picture: A. Leydo/Warsaw Mummy Project

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