The recipes used by ancient Egyptians for mummifying animals were just as complicated as those they employed for dead people, new research shows.
Pets' organs were carefully removed and they underwent elaborate bandaging before treatment with a variety of chemicals including beeswax and bitumen.
The Egyptians are known to have mummified a variety of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/13728_animal.html' target=_blank>animals, from cows and crocodiles to scorpions, snakes and even the occasional lion, informs BBC News.
According to the National Geographic, the team examined samples from four animal mummies—two hawks, a cat, and an ibis—dating from 818 B.C. to 343 B.C. The &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/society/2001/08/15/12582.html' target=_blank>mummies are housed in the collection of the Liverpool Museum in Liverpool, England.
The researchers analyzed samples of tissue and wrappings using a combination of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry—methods so sensitive they can enable scientists to detect and identify different chemicals in fragments weighing as little as a tenth of a milligram (three and a half millionths of an ounce).
Chemicals detected in tissue samples from the animal mummies revealed the presence of various natural products found in human embalming materials used by the ancient Egyptians. These included animal fats, oils, beeswax, sugar gum, bitumen, and pine tree resins. The researchers found these products had also been applied to the bandages used to wrap up the mummies.