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NEWS: What mummy teeth tell us about ancient drought

20130718-194436.jpgTeeth from an Egyptian mummy skull trace a record of ancient Egypt’s drought (Source: The Weather Channel).

“The link between drought and the rise and fall of Egypt’s ancient cultures, including the pyramid builders, has long fascinated scientists and historians. Now, they’re looking into an unexpected source to find connections: mummy teeth.

A chemical analysis of teeth enamel from Egyptian mummies reveals the Nile Valley grew increasingly arid from 5,500 to 1,500 B.C., the period including the growth and flourishing of ancient Egyptian civilization.

The climate data come from the teeth of Egyptian mummies from various dynasties at the Musée des Confluences de Lyon in France. Led by graduate student Alexandra Touzeau, the researchers drilled small amounts of enamel off some of the teeth and tested it for oxygen and strontium isotopes.

The mummy’s teeth record the ratio of two oxygen isotopes (oxygen atoms with different numbers of neutrons) in their diet and their drinking water, which in this case is Nile River water, Lecuyer said. Shifts in the ratio of the isotopes indicate changing precipitation patterns in the region” – via The Weather Channel.

Read more here.

Amazing – mummies telling us about climate change! I do love this interdisciplinary research!

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