Chicago Doctors Studying Human Body By Giving Mummy Digital Autopsy

CHICAGO (CBS) — Doctors in Chicago are turning to a female mummy to answer some questions, but they’re doing so digitally.

A 2800-year-old mummy that’s been in storage for years has been in the collection of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute for more than a century.

But today it’s being CT scanned for the first time ever, CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports.

“Digitally unwrapping a mummy,” University of Chicago Egyptologist Emily Teeter says.

And there’s much that the University of Chicago experts simply don’t know.

In addition to determining the sex, Professor Michael Vannier says the scan enables experts to perform something of a digital autopsy.

“Many of the features of an individual that could not otherwise be known without CT scanning,” Vannier says.

The founder of the Oriental Institute brought the mummies back from Egypt in 1894. He was on his honeymoon at the time. So where did he store the mummies? Under the bed.

“He writes in his diary about he brought the mummies…he put them under the bed, and they didn’t lose a wink of sleep. Although his wife was not so happy about it.” Teeter says.

Egyptians believed that to live eternally the body had to be preserved. Teeter believes studying mummies can help answer some of life’s eternal questions.

“These are individuals who lived thousands of years ago. They are real people. And we’re looking at who they were, trying to reconstruct our life,” Teeter says.

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