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Mummies | DNA Analysis Shows as Half-brothers | University of Manchester


One of the oldest puzzling mysteries boggling the minds of historians for the last 111 years seems to have been defused recently. The two dead bodies preserved since 1800 B.C., were exhumed in 1907 in a village called Deir Rifeh, 250 miles (400 kms) from the capital city of Cairo of Egypt and they were hitherto believed to be of noble ancestry based on the luxurious grave goods and the ceremonious placement on the tomb with the letters of the female name “Khnum-Aa” inscribed on it.

4000 years old Mummies are Half Brothers, DNA Analysis Shows:

When the mummies were brought to the University of Manchester in 1908, based on the anatomical reports on the skulls and bodies of both the mummies it was concluded that the two mummies were not related to each other. A further study on the skin pigmentation of the mummies in 1970 led the researchers to believe the same old contention.

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The initial tentative belief that the royal name “Khnum-Aa” was supposed to be the name of the mother of the two mummies, did not have any strong scientific evidence to prove it and remained inconclusive. The analysis on mitochondrial DNA which denotes maternal linkage revealed that the two mummies had a common mother. Although the recent scientific study affirms that they had a common mother, it points out that the people were not born to a single father, based on the study on Y chromosomal DNA that established the paternal pedigree. The study based on advanced DNA sequencing has confirmed the different paternal nexus between the two mummies. Because of the difference in the paternal ancestry, the two mummies are now said to be half-brothers.


The two mummies have been concluded to be the dead bodies of two half-brothers Khnum-Nakht and Nakht-Ankh. Though Khnum-Nakht was younger to Nakht-Ankh by at least 20 years, the former is found to have met unexpected death six months before Nakht-Ankh died, as per the dates written on the bandages. The two brothers were found to have lived during the 12th dynasty, which spanned from 1985 B.C. to 1773 B.C. The study of DNA sequencing was not initially satisfactory because of the fact that Y chromosome existed in one copy while the mitochondrial DNA existed in multiple copies per cell. In spite of the limited evidence, the birth of two brothers from the same mother’s womb, but out of different fathers has been unequivocally established.

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