"IT IS normal," Robert Connolly exclaims, poring over the faded pages of an obscure, decades-old book. Connolly has found an image that appears to settle the controversy over whether the boy king Tutankhamun had a club foot. As with many mysteries related to the famous mummy, the truth is hard to pin down.
The argument started last year when a team led by Egypt's then-chief of antiquities, Zahi Hawass, reported that Tutankhamun's left foot was severely deformed.
Hawass's team CAT-scanned the mummy in January 2005. Their subsequent paper, published in 2009, noticed no foot-related problems. Then a reanalysis concluded that Tutankhamun's left foot was in a sorry state. The authors diagnosed club foot, two diseased metatarsals, and a missing toe bone (Journal of the American Medical Association, DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.121).
The finding that Tutankhamun was disabled made headlines around the world. But Connolly - a researcher at the University of Liverpool, UK, and part of a team that X-rayed the mummy in 1968 - is convinced it is wrong.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Tutankhmun's club foot
New Scientist (Jo Marchant)