A 2500-year-old mummified Egyptian cat was first digitally dissected – and researchers were shocked to discover what it contained.
CT scans of the mummy, located at the Museum of Fine Arts in Rennes, France, reveal that the old sheaths contain three tails and five hind legs.
There is a textile ball instead of a head, according to researchers from the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP).
The Frankenstein-like creature also lacks vertebrae and ribs, suggesting that this is actually a mixture of different cats instead of a single cat.
The 2500-year-old mummified Egyptian cat, located at the Museum of Fine Arts in Rennes, France, was first subjected to a CT scanner
Although it was not what the researchers expected to find, Theophane Nicolas from INRAP said This kind of discovery is not unusual.
& # 39; There are millions of animal mummies, but only a few are imagined & he said.
& # 39; Some are empty, others contain only one bone, sometimes the cat is complete. The mummy of Rennes is a variant.
Transparent 3D representation of the strips, bones and texture of the mummy & # 39; s (left) and of the surface of the mummy strips (right)
& # 39; Some researchers believe that we are dealing with an age-old scam organized by unscrupulous priests, on the contrary, we believe that there are innumerable ways to make animal mummies.
& # 39; We will know more once we have created a visual language that connects to a field of study that is developing worldwide. & # 39;
Volume reconstruction of the bone mass based on CT scans. The old casings contain three tails and five hind legs
While the ancient Egyptians mummified people to preserve their bodies for the hereafter, animal mummies were mostly used as religious sacrifices.
These offerings ranged from cats and dogs to fish, crocodiles, rodents, birds and baboons – with many species of animals believed to have close associations with gods.
For example, cats were sacred to Bastet, the goddess of warfare, while jackals were associated with Anubis, the god of embalming.
In 2015, the University of Manchester performed a series of CT scans and X-rays on 800 animal mummies that dated between 1000 BC and 400 AD.
They discovered that no less than one third of the carefully and carefully packed mummies do not contain animal remains.
The researchers make a transparent model of the cat mummy based on the scans, using a stereolithographic 3D printer
Transparent 3D printing of the cat mummy, with colors that show the different materials in the package
Some scholars think that the high demand for mummified animals has made it a deceptive trade – with suppliers creating counterfeits to meet demand.
Cats can be particularly appreciated because the ancient Egyptians between 3,400 BC. And 3000 BC. Worshiped a feline god called Mafdet.
Madfet – who was later replaced by the famous deity of love, passion, joy, women and pleasure, Bastet – was seen as a protector against poisonous bites from snakes and scorpions.
Close-up of the transparent 3D prints of the cat mummy from the Rennes Museum of Fine Arts
Cat worship in ancient Egypt
It is believed that the ancient Egyptians long ago in 3,700 BC. Cared for domestic cats.
Until recently it was thought that cats were first domesticated in the country around 1,950 BC.
Clues have also been found for domestic cats in China, showing that farmers in 3,300 BC. Taking care of cats.
As a respected animal, some cats received the same mummification as humans after death and were often dedicated to Bastet. (Above, a statue found in Saqqara)
Archaeologists said that cats were also used as religious sacrifices in ancient Egypt more than 5,500 years ago.
Cats were known as & # 39; Mau & # 39; and later became important in Egyptian society and became a symbol of grace.
Two goddesses took the form of cats – Mafdet – a lionhead goddess of justice and execution, and Bastet – a cat representing fertility and motherhood.
As a respected animal, some cats received the same mummification as humans after death and were often dedicated to Bastet.
It is thought that there were four main reasons for mummifying animals – being worshiped as manifestations of certain gods, serving as sacrifices to them, offering food in the hereafter, and letting loved ones live on in the hereafter.
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