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The same mother but different parents gave birth to Egyptian mummy brothers, reveals a study

In the year 1907, Erfai, an excavator discovered an Egyptian tomb that had not been touched. This unusual site contained two tombs of high society men named Nakht-Ankh and Khnum-Nakht with adjacent coffins. These coffins were strong enough to survive the plunder by the invaders of tombs.

The coffins were dated 4000 years ago with inscriptions that told a part of the story of his life. Both coffins contained the name of their mothers that was the same woman called "Khnum-aa". The grave diggers dubbed the burial site "the tomb of the two brothers".

Mitochondrial DNA produced convincing results. "Because we recover almost complete profiles [mitochondrial DNA] we can be very sure that they are related to the mother," Drosou said. The Y chromosome data, however, were more elusive. But the information was complete enough to indicate that these men probably had different fathers. "The comparisons between the six regions of the Y chromosome indicate that they possibly have a different father," he said.

The two coffins will be exhibited at the Manchester Museum in Great Britain since 1908. However, since the beginning of their discovery, scientists have doubted the fraternal relationship between the two men. An in-depth study of the ancient DNA of both mummies was conducted by Margaret Murray, who is an anthropologist at the British university. It was difficult for the scientists to convince themselves that these two men belonged to the same race, with much less chance of belonging to the same family. The anatomy of these mummies was also different. The team agreed to study the remains obtained from their skin. The distinct build of the bodies suggested that they did not share the same parents.

"The University of Manchester, and the Manchester Museum in particular, has a long history of researching human remains from ancient Egypt, our reconstructions will always be speculative to some extent, but being able to link these two men in this way is an exciting experience, "said Dr. Campbell Price, Curator of Egypt and Sudan at the Manchester Museum.

The coffin confirmed that both had the same mother, but the fraternal relationship was in question here. The team extracted DNA samples from their teeth to determine their relationship. The oldest of the two for 20 years was Khnum-Nakht. The hurried employer for the mummification of his burial site suggested that the man died of sudden death. Six months later, his youngest stepbrother died but was wrapped more carefully.

"All land property descended in the female line, from mother to daughter, assuming, perhaps, that motherhood is a matter of fact, paternity a matter of opinion," says Watterson.

A complete mitochondrial DNA profile was obtained for the two brothers who confirmed their maternal relationship. However, the data on the Y chromosomes were somehow more elusive, which confirmed the fact that these men were not related by the father. Both half brothers had the hieroglyphic inscription that suggested that their father was a local governor; however, one of them was the governor's stepson. They were not royalty, but belonged to an elite class of society.

Tags: Brother Mummies, Egypt

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