Ancient Egyptians Routinely Mummified Crocodiles: Study

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Ancient Egyptians Routinely Mummified Crocodiles: Study

 

Ancient Egyptians are now known to have mummified millions of animals aside from humans centuries ago. These included dogs, cats, birds, and horses. They believed that these animals were associated with their deities, thus, they used their mummified corpses to communicate with the god they represented. For instance, ibis mummies were associated with the god Thoth, dog mummies for Anubis, cat mummies for Bastet, falcon mummies for Horus, and many more. 

 

Photo Credit: All That's Interesting

 

You can add crocodiles to this list. These reptiles were known for their strength and were also associated with fertility and Sobek, the Egyptian god of fertility who took the form of a half-man, half-reptile. Between 1899 and 1900, thousands of crocodile mummies, some of which were ornately decorated, were discovered in a crocodile necropolis in the ancient town of Tebtunis. There were also some findings of crocodile hatcheries and nurseries, showing how in demand these reptiles were at the time.

 

Photo Credit: All That's Interesting

 

A recent study published in the Journal of Archaeological Sciences examined a 2,000-year-old mummified crocodile that was discovered at Kom Ombo, Egypt. According to All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they saw on the news or read in history books, the archaeologists used synchrotron scanning to examine the corpse without damaging any bone, soft tissue, and the bandages. They found out that Egyptian hunters specifically killed crocodiles to sacrifice them.

 

Photo Credit: All That's Interesting


“The most probable cause of death is a serious skull fracture on the top of [the] skull that caused a direct trauma to the brain. The size of the fracture, as well as its direction and shape, suggest that it was made by a single blow presumably with a…thick wooden club, aimed at the posterior right side of the crocodile, probably when it was resting on the ground,” the researchers wrote. 

The researchers also discovered that the mummification process of the crocodile started “very rapidly after the death,” suggesting that these reptiles were hunted specifically to be embalmed.

 

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