The Loh Down On Science

Packed Lunch

It's a long way to the afterlife--better pack a lunch!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, and sound advice from wise mummies. Egyptian mummies, that is.

In ancient Egypt, the Sacred Ibis--a long-billed wading bird--was often mummified as a religious offering to the god Thoth.

Recently, anthropologists used computerized tomography--or CT--scanning to see through the linen wrappings and skin of four ibis mummies. Within the mummies, they found something odd: the bill of one bird was jam-packed with snails, complete with shells!

And that's not all. All the birds' viscera, or organs, had been removed, and the body cavities stuffed with small packages.

Each package contained objects of various sizes, which the team thinks are food. Some objects look like wheat grains, others like fish bones. And, of course, more snails.

The scientists think the ancient Egyptians were giving the birds snacks for their travels in the afterlife.

Because even mummified religious offerings need their three squares! Or at least 10 snails. You know.



The Loh Down on Science, online, at lohdown.org. Produced by 89.3 KPCC and the California Institute of Technology, and made possible by TIAA-CREF.

Follow us on Twitter at LohDown.


blog comments powered by Disqus