How It Works

Mummies and Daddies: Egyptian Family Tree Revealed

A new DNA study has revealed that a pair of ancient Egyptian mummies, known as the Two Brothers, are actually half-brothers. The priests Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ankh were discovered in Egypt during an excavation led by British archaeologist Flinders Petrie in 1907. Their tomb was discovered Deir Rifeh, approximately 250 miles south of Cairo. The pair were found buried together but the last century has seen much speculation surrounding their relationship. Using DNA, the duo have now been identified as half-brothers. They had originally been assumed to be brothers when they were discovered together in a tomb near the village of Rifeh in 1907. The coffin was inscribed with the same, Khnum-Aa – the mother of the men. However, over the last few decades differences in skeletal features, including the men’s skull shapes, questioned if they were related at all. However, the mystery has been solved in the February Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports where archaeogeneticist Konstantina Drosou and her colleagues of the University of Manchester in England report retrieving DNA from inside the teeth of the preserved remains that confirms they had the same Mother and different Fathers.


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