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Ancient mummy may disappear: the reason

Древнейшие мумии могут исчезнуть: названа причинаHumanity will lose forever the ancient mummies

Collection of mummified human remains found in Northern Chile, turns into a black goo due to the increase of humidity level, and local scientists do not know how to stop this process.

More than 100 mummies, the age of some at least 7,000 years, began to turn into jelly, and last year the local officials appealed to UNESCO with a request to recognize the mummy as a world heritage site. Of course, the recognition itself will not save the mummies, but the researchers hope that increased attention from the international community will help them to find a solution. It is believed that the mummies are destroyed due to colonies of bacteria thriving in the mummified skin.

Since the early 1900-ies along the coast of southern Peru and Northern Chile were found about 300 mummified remains of adults, children and even miscarriages. Some of them date back to 5050 BC, the world’s oldest mummy discovered to date. The mummy belongs to the chinchorro people who mummified their dead for about 2000 years before the ancient Egyptians. While the Egyptians used mummification only for the elite, the chinchorro seem mummified all their dead.

Bernardo Arrias from the University of Tarapaca, who leads the excavations in the area for 30 years, believes that the practice of mummification could occur due to contaminated drinking water, as researchers have found arsenic in the tissues of mummies.

“Arsenic poisoning can lead to an increase in the number of abortions and increase infant mortality. A large number of these deaths may have led to the preservation of the smallest ones. The oldest mummies found was the mummy of a child, possibly to mummify adults was late”, — he said.

The mummies are so well preserved, because they were in the dry Sands of the Atacama desert where in some places it has not rained in over 400 years. Over the past century mummy was excavated and transported to local research institutions. In early 2015, the mummy began to disintegrate, and Chilean scientists have appealed for help to their colleagues from Harvard University. Analysis of the tissues showed that they are teeming with bacteria — but it’s not ancient bacteria, and those that normally live on the skin of people. And they are now accelerating the process of degradation. While ran has not found an effective way to preserve the mummies, so these amazing artifacts are under threat of destruction.

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