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CT scanners developed for the medical profession are now proving just as effective for anthropologists studying centuries-old mummies in museums. Thanks to CT technology, researchers can study mummies without disturbing their remains.
He was in his forties when he died in Lower Egypt more than 2000 years ago.
His brain and major organs had been removed and replaced by rolls of linen, indicating he'd been embalmed and mummified in a manner reserved for the high born.
For fifty years, the mummy had lain intact and unexamined at Smithsonian Museum. No one knew anything about him, but then CT scanning technology came along and the mummy gave up its secrets.
Anthropoligist Dr. Bruno Frohlich is now studying a mummy he calls "The Lady", a woman in her mid-40s born in the highlands of Ancon, Peru seven centuries ago.
She's considered one of the best preserved Peruvian mummies in the world and the CT scanner is helping Dr. Frohlich get to know her better.
[Dr. Bruno Frohlich, Anthropologist, Smithsonian Museum]:
"What we can see now is that the body's internal organs are complete and there is very little animal damage on it. So that would allow us to take samples, for example, for short-term nutrition from the stomach, from the intestines. And the scanner will help us to do that because we can use what we call a biopsy-mode where you actually are putting a needle and you can take out a sample and you do not destroy anything."
The adaptation of X-ray computed tomography from medicine to anthropology has fundamentally changed the way scientists like Bruno Frohlich examine their specimens.
The SOMATOM Emotion 6 CT scanner, donated to the museum by Siemens Healthcare, takes thousands of x-rays that can be converted into three-dimensional images. ..