Polish scientists have discovered the remains of a fetus in an Egyptian mummy about 2000 years old. According to an article in the Journal of Archaeological Sciences, this is the world’s first known case of a “pregnant mummified corpse.” The embryo was discovered while examining a mummy that has been on display at the National Museum in Warsaw since 1917.
The fetus is visible on x-rays
On Thursday, during the X-ray, Marzina Ozarik-Zelke, an anthropologist and archaeologist at the University of Warsaw, said she and her husband saw a “familiar sight of the parents of three children” – “a small foot.” Other tests also identified the rest of the fetus.
Beginning of the third trimester
Scientists assume that the woman was between 20 and 30 years old and at the 26th to 30th week of pregnancy. “We do not know why the embryo was not removed from the abdomen of the deceased during embalming,” said Wojciech Eggsmond of the Polish Academy of Sciences, who participated in the project.
Ozarik Zelke said the embalmers may have tried to conceal the pregnancy. It is also possible to imagine “the connection with faith and the rebirth in the hereafter.”
The first mummy with her baby
According to the scientists, there are no other cases of “pregnant mummified bodies” so far. This discovery opens “new opportunities for research into ancient pregnancy and maternal practices,” the researchers write in their article. The Egyptian mummy came to Poland in the early nineteenth century.