The legendary Egyptian “boy king” Tutankhamun, commonly known as King Tut, died of conditions including malaria and complications from a leg fracture, according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in 1922, but his life remains shrouded in mystery, and not much is known about him. He ruled during the 18th Dynasty, from 1336 B.C. to 1327 B.C., according to the Web site Egyptology Online, and is believed to have died young. Forensic analysis of his mummy has put his age of death at about 17 to 19 years.
In the study published this week, researchers used anthropological, radiological and genetic testing to examine Tut and 10 other bodies mummified over a two-year period during Tut’s dynasty.
Previously, based on historical records and earlier digs, Zahi Hawass, the lead investigator of the study, had said Tut could have been the son of Amenhotep III, a successful and popular king of the 18th Dynasty, who was later known as Akhenaten.
Through DNA, Hawass’ researchers determined that was indeed the case, and that Tut was married to his sister. Scientists believe that genetics and inherited diseases played a role in Tut’s health because of inbreeding within the family.
“We know there were weaknesses in these mummies, perhaps even cardiovascular problems,” Hawass said.
When researchers scanned Tut’s mummy, they found he not only had severe kyphoscoliosis, or curvature of the spine, but also suffered from a toe malformation known as oligodactyly. The condition made his left foot swell, and it would have caused excruciating pain when he walked.
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