The case of the murdered mummies: “digital post-mortem” reveals deadly accidents

Face and upper body of one of two South American mummies that were likely murdered, based on a recent "virtual autopsy."

Enlarge / Face and higher physique of considered one of two South American mummies that had been seemingly murdered, based mostly on a latest “digital post-mortem.” (credit score: A-M Begerock et al., 2022)

A world workforce of scientists used CT scanning to conduct “digital autopsies” of three South American mummies and located proof of deadly trauma in two of them, in accordance with a latest paper revealed within the journal Frontiers in Drugs. One of many mummies had clearly been hit on the top and stabbed, presumably by two assailants, whereas the opposite confirmed indicators of huge cervical backbone trauma. The third feminine mummy additionally confirmed indicators of trauma, however the injury was inflicted autopsy. The research is a part of ongoing efforts to find out the frequency of violence in prehistoric human societies.

In keeping with the authors, there’s a giant database of historic Egyptian mummies and skeletons that present indicators of getting suffered a traumatic harm, however there may be far much less information for South American mummies, a lot of which fashioned naturally and are exceptionally well-preserved. Nonetheless, proof of deadly trauma has been reported beforehand in a couple of circumstances, akin to a pre-Columbian cranium from the Nasca area displaying rational trauma to the cervical backbone and accompanying comfortable tissue bleeding into the cranium. An nearly full feminine mummy confirmed indicators of facial bone fractures according to huge strikes from a weapon, as did the cranium of a mummified male toddler.

An in depth 1993 survey used typical X-rays to research 63 mummies and mummy fragments, 11 of which confirmed indicators of trauma to the cranium. However these mummies got here from completely different areas, populations, and time durations, making it tough to attract normal conclusions from the findings. Final yr, researchers appeared for indicators of violence within the stays of 194 adults buried between 2,800 and 1,400 years in the past within the Atacama desert of northern Chile, 40 of which appeared to have been the victims of brutal violence.

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