A Manchester University might have just put a lid on a 4000-year old mystery involving two mummified brothers. DNA sequencing revealed Britain’s most popular mummies, might have had a different father. The two brothers are in the University of Manchester’s vaults since 1908.
Two Brothers Had Different Fathers
While it’s true that the two brothers who mummified and interred almost 4000 years ago shared the same mother, a new study bearing the University of Manchester’s seal has determined that not even this Egyptian family wasn’t sparred the drama that comes with the territory.
The mummified bodies belong to Nakht-ankh and Khnum-nakth, two priests from the Deir Rifeh region. Historical records show that the two mummified brothers were the sons of the region’s governor. Thus, upon their death, they’ve received a burial ceremony worthy of an Egyptian Pharaohs.
To this day, the bodies of Khnum-nakth and Nakth-ankh are regarded as the best-preserved mummies from the Egyptian Middle Kingdom. The discovery of the two mummified brothers is attributed to renowned British archaeologist Flinders Petrie, who opened their tomb in 1907.
One year later, the bodies would be shipped from Cairo to the University of Manchester, where Dr. Margaret Murray, the first female archaeologist, and her team would examine their remains.
A Most Startling Discovery
One hundred years later after Murray analyzed the mummies, another team of Manchester scientists took an interest in the two mummified brothers. Using gene sequencing technologies, the researchers were able to extract and isolate Y chromosome DNA and mitochondrial DNA from the remains.
As you know, mitochondrial DNA is used to determine an individual’s maternal line, while the later is used to determine the paternal line. The DNA sequencing revealed that the two mummified brothers shared the haplotype Mlal, which indicates that they’ve shared the same mother.
However, the Y chromosome DNA analysis revealed staggering differences in both cases, which clearly indicates that the two mummified brothers had different fathers.
As to the reason behind these results, the researchers have hypothesized that either the brother’s mother had an affair or that one of them was adopted.
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