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World's first pregnant Egyptian mummy uncovered in Poland

Christian Fernsby |
The examination of an ancient Egyptian mummy in the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw has revealed the world's first known case of a pregnant embalmed body, Polish researchers said.

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The discovery that the mummy, previously believed to be a priest, was actually a female, was made in 2016. But analysis of X-ray images uncovered a fetus in the mummy's womb, at around the 26th to 28th week of the pregnancy.

"We were ready to wrap up the project and file the paper for publication," anthropologist and archeologist Marzena Ozarek-Szilke of the University of Warsaw told Polish Press Agency.

"I was having a final look at the X-ray images with my husband Stanislaw, an Egyptologist, when we saw something that is familiar to parents of three in the belly of the dead woman: a small foot." Further details were uncovered after analysis of new radiographs.

Wojciech Ejsmond from the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures at the Polish Academy of Sciences claimed that literature reviews failed to uncover similar instances. "This means that 'our' mummy is the only one, so far recognized in the world, with a fetus in the womb," he said.

The cause of death of the woman, who died while somewhere between 20 and 30 years old, is unknown. The next step, according to the researchers, is to analyze her blood composition to find any indication of illness or toxins that might have killed her.

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