DNA reveals the 'Two Brothers' mummies are half-brothers

Rodiano Bonacci
Gennaio 22, 2018

Scientists at the Manchester Museum have found out that the Two Brother's mummies at the Museum have different fathers.

The Two Brothers are the Museum's oldest mummies and amongst the best-known human remains in its Egyptology collection.

The researchers solved a decades-long mystery: the two brothers had the same mother, but different fathers. In the end, she cites the "individual rights determined by social class rather than gender" while quoting Gay Robins in her study about Woman in Ancient Egypt (1993). Likewise, around 20 years praised the two kin, named Nakht-Ankh and Khnum-Nakht.

The University of Manchester, a member of the prestigious Russell Group, is the UK's largest single-site university with more than 40,000 students - including more than 10,000 from overseas.It is consistently ranked among the world's elite for graduate employability.

The Y chromosome sequences were less complete but showed variations between the two mummies.

Like a next-level version of Jeremy Kyle, DNA was extracted from the teeth, and analysis showed that both Nakht-Ankh and Khnum-Nakht have a maternal relationship.

This answered the "million dollar question" - indicating the men were really half-brothers.

Dr Konstantina Drosou, of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester who conducted the DNA sequencing, said: "It was a long and exhausting journey to the results but we are finally here".

"I am very grateful we were able to add a small but very important piece to the big history puzzle and I am sure the brothers would be very proud of us. These moments are what make us believe in ancient DNA".

While it is is unknown whether one of the brothers, or both, were illegitimate, infidelity on the part of men was likely commonplace in Ancient Egypt, with seemingly few consequences for an unfaithful husband.

In most ancient societies, and even today, a woman who had children to two different men would certainly not enjoy a high social status.

Illegitimate children themselves seem to have suffered no specific hardships or discrimination in Dynastic Egypt as a effect of their position.

The study, which is being published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, is the first to successfully use the typing of both mitochondrial and Y chromosomal DNA in Egyptian mummies.

The undecorated rock-cut chamber contained the undisturbed burials of the two men.

"Hieroglyphic engravings on the caskets demonstrated that the two men were the children of an anonymous neighborhood senator and had moms with a similar name, Khnum-aa".

An unbelievable discovery that two mummies in a museum in England, which we reported on recently, are not full brothers raises some particularly fascinating questions about Egyptian society.

But doubts were immediately raised when the complete contents of the tomb were shipped to Manchester in 1908.

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