Frédéric Soltan/Corbis News/Getty Images
Mummified humans can teach us a lot about how ancient cultures viewed life and death, but they don’t tell the whole story.
Sepia Times/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Animals were subject to mummification, too.
They have just as much to teach us about the people who lived with them.
Here are 5 mummified animals that can teach us about the past.
KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
Calogero Santoro, Universidad de Tarapacá and José Capriles, Penn State
An international team of researchers found mummified birds in an oasis community in northern Chile, where they were raised for their valuable feathers.
Carlos Capriles Farfán
Traders brought the wild birds on grueling 300-mile treks from the Amazon to the Atacama desert between 1100 and 1450 CE.
Mummified birds from Ancient Egypt show evidence of a varied diet common in wild birds, but not those raised by humans, according to researchers in France.
Heritage Images/Hulton Fine Art Collection/Getty Images
That means that birds were hunted en masse for religious sacrifices, unlike other animals that were bred for the same purpose.
A team of U.S. researchers found genetic evidence that two separate crocodile species lived in the Nile, not just one as was commonly believed.
Researcher Evon Hekkala tells Inverse Ancient Egyptians recognized two distinct species of crocodiles living at the time, a hypothesis which modern research only recently caught up to.
R. Johnston, et al. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS (2021)
Researchers from the U.K. used a new non-intrusive imaging approach to find evidence of strangulation and spinal fracture in a mummified cat and snake from Egypt.
While some animals were kept as pets in Ancient Egypt, their treatment shows a vastly different relationship between humans and animals than we have today.
Researchers led by Dartmouth College traced mummified baboons in Egypt to an area of Africa where Ethiopia, Eritrea, Dijbouti, Somalia, and Yemen now lie.
Manuel ROMARIS/Moment/Getty Images
The finding helped researchers isolate the long-disputed location of an ancient civilization called Punt, which traded baboons to Egypt.
Read more stories on animals here.
Abdullah Albelooshi / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images