'The Mysterious Lady's' Cause Of Death Has Been Discovered After 2000 Years
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Featured Image Credit: Warsaw Mummy Project
The cause of death for a 2,000-year-old Egyptian woman - dubbed the ‘Mysterious Lady’ - has finally been revealed.
Researchers from Poland carried out an autopsy on the skull of the mummy - who was pregnant of the time of her death - to determine why she had died.
The scan revealed unusual marks inside the skull, similar to those that are found in patients with nasopharyngeal cancer, leading researchers to believe this is what the woman died of.
Nasopharyngeal cancer affects the part of the throat that connects to the nose and the back of the mouth.
Prior to the scans, experts already knew that the woman had been between 26 and 30-weeks pregnant but until now wasn’t aware of her cause of death.
Scan images from Warsaw Mummy Project show lesions on the skull, which were most likely caused by a tumour, as well as various defects in parts of the bones that are not typically present in mummification.
Professor Rafał Stec from the Medical University of Warsaw's Department of Oncology, said: “We have unusual changes in the nasopharyngeal bones, which, according to the mummy experts, are not typical of the mummification process.
“Secondly, the opinions of radiologists based on computed tomography indicate the possibility of tumour changes in the bones.”
Professor Stec said the unidentified woman’s relative young age - she is believed to be aged between 20 and 30 - could also point to cancer being her cause of death.
The mummy, which was the first ever to be discovered as pregnant, was found in early 1800s in the royal tombs in Thebe and dates back to the first century BC.
The mummy was moved to Warsaw in Poland in 1826, and remains on display at the National Museum Museum.
Last year, experts carried out tomographic imaging and were able to determine how many weeks pregnant she was and an estimated age.
The woman was mummified with the baby still inside her womb, unlike in other cases of pregnant mummies.
Experts from the Warsaw Mummy Project are unsure why this is, but one suggested: “It may have been thought to be still an integral part of the body of its mother, since it was not yet born.”
This isn’t the first time researchers have identified cancer in mummified remains as back in 2017, researchers found breast cancer and bone marrow cancer in two mummies.
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