Thanks to modern science, we have now solved a four-thousand-year-old mystery surrounding the identity of an Egyptian mummy.
Two mummies, stored at the Manchester Museum, were long assumed to be brothers. According to new research, however, the mummies have been proven to be half-brothers, who share a common mother but different fathers. The two men, Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ankh, died sometime around 1800 BC. They were discovered in 1907 and nicknamed "The Two Brothers." The nickname was challenged by many scholars, whose doubts have been vindicated by the new findings.
The "brothers" conclusion was reached because of hieroglyphics on their sacrophagi that seemed to imply the two men were such. Dr. Margaret Murray, the Egyptologist who first unwrapped them in 1908, believed that they were not, in fact, blood related, due to significant differences in their anatomy.
The new evidence, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, reveals the results of experiments conducted on DNA extracted from the mummies' teeth in 2015. Ancient teeth are especially rich in DNA, since teeth are filled with soft tissue that's often well preserved by their enamel coating.
Realm of History
"It was a long and exhausting journey to the results," says Dr. Konstantina Drosou, the head researcher in the new study. "...But we are finally here. I am very grateful we were able to add a small but very important piece to the big history puzzle and I am sure the brothers would be very proud of us. These moment are what make us believe in ancient DNA."