Wednesday, February 24, 2010

King Tut Died From Malaria



In 1922 the intact tomb of King Tut was discovered in Egypt. Technology shows us that the boy died around 1324 BC and was probably around 19. Anthropologists from Egypt, Germany, Italy and other countries studied DNA and performed tests on 16 royal mummies and found that four, including King Tut, had contracted a severe form of malaria called Plasmodium falciparum. Tut also had a broken leg and they believe malaria killed him.

It is amazing that scientists are able to take a mummy and find out so much about his life after studying the DNA for two years. Here is what we now know about King Tut:
  • He had a cleft palate, a left clubfoot and other bone ailments
  • He suffered from Kohler disease, which can cause foot bones to collapse from lack of blood
  • He probably needed canes to walk
  • Two of the other mummies were Tut's father, Akhenaten and his grandmother, Tiye, based on shared blood groups.
  • His parents were brother and sister
  • There was no foul play in his death
King Tut ruled during a 155-year-long Dynasty and inherited the throne at age 11. The mummy is over 3,300 years old.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is Kohler disease something physicians ever see today in rare cases? What causes it? Blood transfusions must be a cure for it if it were a disease contracted today I would think.

Anonymous said...

Why is the skull black? I have always seen white ones.

Sam said...

That's interesting about his clubfoot and 'other bone ailments' considering his status. It brings to mind Pre-Columbian cultures like the Moché where people with ailments and deformities were treated with equality and even esteemed/worshipped for their differences in appearance. It's obvious that Tut's royal class was associated with his bloodline, but its something to think about: how the Egyptian society treated these issues.

StorytellERdoc said...

Amazing that a life story can be constructed on a person who lived thousands of years ago. Amazing technology...of course, you and we the writers can always spice it up just a little more! Nice post.
Jim

Susan said...

Amazing how science can tell us so much about someone who has been dead for so long.

Wondering if some of his congenital anomalies weren't due to the fact of having parents who were siblings.

Jonathan said...

If you're in the Bay Area and like medical mysteries and mummies, be sure to see the exhibit Very Postmortem: Mummies and Medicine at the Legion of Honor (through 8/15/2010).

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