Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scientists still trying to back up mummy claim

Sun Journal

Months after Egypt boldly announced that archaeologists had identified a mummy as the most powerful queen of her time, scientists in a museum basement are still analyzing DNA from the bald, 3,500-year-old corpse to try to back up the claim aired on TV.

Progress is slow. So far, results indicate the linen-wrapped mummy is most likely, but not conclusively, the female pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled for 20 years in the 15th century B.C.

Running its own ancient-DNA lab is a major step forward for Egypt, which for decades has seen foreigners take most of the credit for major discoveries here.

It's time Egyptian scientists took charge, said Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities chief who spearheaded the quest to find Hatshepsut and build the lab. "Egyptology, for the last 200 years, it has been led by foreigners."

But the Hatshepsut discovery also highlights the struggle to back up recent spectacular findings in Egypt, including the unearthing of ancient tombs and mummies, investigations into how King Tut died, and even the discovery in the Siwa oasis of possibly the world's oldest human footprint.

So far, the science shown in the Discovery Channel's "Secrets of Egypt's Lost Queen" has not been published in a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal - the gold standard of scientific research worldwide.

"I think the people at the Discovery Channel went way too much 'CSI,"' said biological anthropologist Angelique Corthals, referring to television's "Crime Scene Investigation" series.

See the above page for the full story.


Unknown said...

Andie this is from december 2007...

Scrabcake said...

I think in the scientific community, they call this "proof by press release". ie. if you can't actually prove something in the scientific community, go put it on the discovery channel and appeal directly to laypeople.
I think that people need to understand that "scientists" aren't making these claims. Egyptologists are. Scientists would not be going into these examinations with a pre-determined conclusion that needs to be backed up, but a theory that can be proven or disproven. So many times it seems that Egyptologists use the former and wind up doing logical tricks to "prove" their pet theory. Egyptology would benefit from science's approach.
Lol. Looks like this article has hit on one of my soapbox topics!

Anonymous said...

Yes, December 2007, and the sad part is that the results are
still not published..

Andie said...

Sorry. Did it again.