A team of modern scientists from Switzerland managed to mummify the legs donated by a woman using ancient mummification method similar to the ones used by the ancient Egyptians.
The reason for this experiment was that the researchers wanted to learn important details about the controversial process of mummification, and what better way to learn about something than by putting it in practice, the scientists reasoned.
The team of researchers from the University of Zurich started the process by baking one of the legs in an oven in order to dehydrate it.
The other leg was placed in a salt solution, as the ancient Egyptian did it.
The process of mummification lasted about seven months, compared to the ancient process which lasted about two months.
The researchers monitored the condition of the legs using microscopic techniques.
Additionally, the scientists analyzed the DNA of the limb and examined it using X-rays.
The ancient Egyptians used to mummify humans and pets post mortem as part of a ritual to prepare the bodies for the afterlife.
Most of the information about the ancient mummification methods comes from the writing of Herodotus, a Greek historian who lived in the fifth century BC.
The ancient Egyptians made the mummies from dead bodies by removing the organs and the brain.
Then they would sterilize the chest and abdominal cavity and place the body in a natron solution that contained soda ash and sodium bicarbonate.
The ancient Egyptians used this special bath to prevent the bodies from decomposing.
The resulting bodies were then wrapped in linen and placed inside the tombs.
The legs used in the recreation of ancient mummification process were donated for science and had been kept at the University of Zurich.
The researchers said they mummified only the legs because it was easier than to do the whole body.
Christina Papageorgopoulou, one of the scientists involved in the mummification process, said that if the entire body had been used, they would have had to remove the intestines and all the organs.
The leg that was treated only with heat did not mummify and researchers abandoned it after one week.
The scientists believe that bodies in ancient Egypt were mummified faster and better because of the arid conditions, unlike the cold, moist conditions of the laboratory.
The results of the study were detailed in the journal The Anatomical Record.
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