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Pattaya Daily News

19 February 2010 :: 16:02:07 pm 13608

New Speculations Over King Tut’s Death

Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 led to years of speculation on how and why the 19 year old ‘boy king’ died so young. Some believe he died from a fall from his chariot whilst others suspected foul play and because he left no heirs, others speculated that he died from an inherited disease that ran in his family.
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New discoveries by scientists who have spent the last two years scrutinizing the mummified remains have extracted his blood and DNA revealing traces of the malaria parasite leading them to believe the Egyptian boy king Tutankhamun may well have died of malaria after disease ravaged his body that was already crippled by a rare bone disease. If nothing else, the findings may lay to rest the conspiracy theories of murder.

Dr Bob Conelly a senior lecturer in physical anthropology has himself examined Tutankhamun. He said the researchers have been extremely lucky and clever in  extracting DNA for study as King Tut is not a very well preserved mummy and is a charred wreck.

After painstakingly picking over the remains of king Tut and ten other royal mummies from his family, Dr Zahi Hawass can now confirm (using genetic fingerprinting) them to be the young kings grandmother and most probably his father. They also confirmed the young king may have had a form of inherited disease, a rare bone disorder called Kohler disease II which affected his foot as well as a club foot and curvature of the spine.
Although this was not what killed him, it would explain the sticks and staves that could have been used as walking canes were found amongst his possessions, researchers say.

Prior to his death, the young king had fractured his leg and the bone would not heal properly and began to die thus leaving the king frail and susceptible to infection.The scientists believe on top of his ill health a bout of malaria finished him off.

The traces of malaria parasites found in the young king’s blood, is the oldest mummified genetic proof for malaria in ancient population that exists. Doctor Hawass went on to say a sudden leg fracture possibly introduced by a fall might have resulted in a life threatening condition when the malaria infection occurred. Seeds, fruit and leaves found in the tomb which were possibly used for medical treatment, support this diagnosis.

Doctor Bob Conelly stated it was possible that malaria killed the boy king, but just because he had the parasite in his blood, it did not mean he suffered from malaria or even died from it and he still believes King Tut died as a result of a fall from his chariot as his injuries of broken ribs and a caved in chest cavity suggests physical injuries.

Patty Brown

Photo : Internet   Category : Society

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