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FBI Solves Mystery of 4,000-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy with Severed Head

The severed, mummified head found in a ransacked tomb, via Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI solved a century-long mystery over the identify of a 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy whose severed head was discovered in a burial chamber ransacked by thieves.

It was a major breakthrough for the FBI – and the scientific community – because genetic material had never been successfully extracted from a four-century-old mummy, the New York Times reports

A team of American archaeologists discovered the head in Deit el-Bersha, an ancient Egyptian necropolis. They determined the tomb belonged to a governor called Djehutynakht and his wife, but they were unable to decipher the gender of the head.

So they turned to the FBI, which used advanced DNA sequencing to determine the head belonged to governor by drilling into a tooth extracted from the skull. Odile Loreille, an FBI biologist, used the remains of the tooth, dissolved it in a chemical solution and them ran it through a DNA copy machine.

She deduced from the ratio of sex chromosomes that the skull belonged to a male.

The successful discovery advances a powerful DNA collecting technique that will help the bureau’s forensic studies.


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