Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Radiologists attempt to solve mystery of Tut's demise

29.11.2006
Egyptian radiologists who performed the first-ever computed tomography (CT) evaluation of King Tutankhamun’s mummy believe they have solved the mystery of how the ancient pharaoh died. The CT images and results of their study were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Ashraf Selim, M.D., radiologist at Kasr Eleini Teaching Hospital, Cairo University in Egypt, was part of an international team of scientists that studied the 3,300-year-old mummy of King Tut in Egypt. Using a mobile multi-detector CT scanner, the researchers performed a full-body scan on the king's remains, obtaining approximately 1,900 digital cross-sectional images.

"We found the mummy was in a critical stage of preservation," said Dr. Selim. "The body was cut into several parts with some missing pieces."

With the help of the CT images, researchers estimated King Tut's age at death to be between 18 and 20 years. His height was 180 centimeters or approximately 5 feet 11 inches. The researchers discovered a possible premortem fracture to the femoral (thigh) bone. While they cannot assess how the injury occurred, the findings suggest that the injury may have been an open wound that became infected and ultimately fatal.

Since King Tut was first examined by x-ray in 1968, revealing what appeared to be a bone fragment in his skull, it has been widely speculated that a blow to the head killed the boy king. However, Dr. Selim and colleagues found several pieces of evidence to the contrary. In the cranial cavity, they found loose bone fragments that were not covered with the intracranial solidified embalming material. These bone fragments matched exactly a defect within the first vertebra in the neck. They found no evidence of skull fractures.

A mishap during the mummification process, or even damage incurred during that first x-ray examination may explain the misplaced—and misleading—bone fragments. Dr. Selim suggests the damage may have been caused by the expedition led by Howard Carter that first discovered Tut's tomb in 1922.

"We believe that this broken piece from the first vertebra of the king's spine may have been fractured and dislodged when Carter, Derry, Hamdy and their team tried to remove and free the gold mask, which was tightly glued and quite adherent to the body, by using some metal instruments that broke the thin, fragile piece of bone that lies immediately underneath the bone defect in the skull base through which the spinal cord emerges," Dr. Selim said.

Dr. Selim's team did not escape the so-called curse that is said to plague anyone who disrupts the remains of the boy king.

"While performing the CT scan of King Tut, we had several strange occurrences," he said. "The electricity suddenly went out, the CT scanner could not be started and a team member became ill. If we weren't scientists, we might have become believers in the Curse of the Pharaohs."

The CT examination of King Tut is part of a five-year initiative called the Egyptian Mummy Project to image and preserve Egypt’s mummies and to solve various mysteries about the diseases and lifestyles of ancient Egyptians.

King Tutankhamun, who ascended to the throne when he was just eight years old, was mummified and buried with other ancient royals. His tomb, filled with 5,000 artifacts, was discovered near Luxor, Egypt in 1922. Artifacts from the tombs of King Tut and other royals buried in the Valley of the Kings are part of "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," an exhibition currently at Chicago's Field Museum.

Maureen Morley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rsna.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Structured light and nanomaterials open new ways to tailor light at the nanoscale

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

On the shape of the 'petal' for the dissipation curve

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Clean and Efficient – Fraunhofer ISE Presents Hydrogen Technologies at the HANNOVER MESSE 2018

23.04.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>