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Egypt to test fetuses for Tutankhamun family tree
11-27-2008, 11:28 PM,
#1
Egypt to test fetuses for Tutankhamun family tree
Egypt to test fetuses for Tutankhamun family tree

Wed Aug 6, 2008 11:57am EDT

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian scientists are doing DNA tests on stillborn children found in the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun in the hope of identifying their mother and grandmother, who may be the powerful queen Nefertiti, Egypt's chief archaeologist said on Wednesday.

[image]
The coffinette for the Viscera of Tutankhamun in a file photo. Egyptian scientists are doing DNA tests on stillborn children found in the tomb of the Pharoah Tutankhamun in the hope of identifying their mother and grandmother, who may be the powerful queen Nefertiti, Egypt's chief archaeologist said on Wednesday.

REUTERS/Fred Prouser

British archaeologist Howard Carter found the mummified fetuses when he discovered Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922. Archaeologists assume they are the children of the teenage pharaoh but their mother has not been identified.

Many scholars believe their mother to be Ankhesenamun, the boy king's only known wife. Ankhesenamun is the daughter of Nefertiti, renowned for her beauty.

"For the first time we will be able to identify the family of King Tut," Zahi Hawass, the head of Egypt's Supreme Council for Antiquities, told Reuters. "This should allow us for the first time to discover the mummy of Nefertiti."

Tutankhamun, born in 1341 BC, died less than a decade after taking the throne at the age of eight or nine.

Nefertiti had six daughters with the Pharaoh Akhenaten, who abandoned traditional gods in favor of monotheism during his rule from about 1350 to 1334 BC. The queen's mummy has never been identified.

The DNA tests and computerized tomography (CT) scans, to be performed at Cairo University, should be finished by December, Hawass said.

Egypt has been trying to check the identity of all its royal mummies using DNA and CT scans. Tutankhamun's was one of the first mummies to be examined with the technology in 2005.

(Writing by Will Rasmussen, editing by Paul Casciato)

http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews...666241820080806
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