The Two Brothers: an enlightening study of ancient Egyptian teeth

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Abstract

The Two Brothers, two 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummies, were discovered buried alongside each other in an ancient Egyptian tomb in 1907, and were later relocated to the Manchester Museum. The hieroglyphic inscriptions on the coffins indicate that the mummies, Nakht-Ankh and Khnum-Nakht were brothers, but when the mummies were unwrapped and investigated in 1908 the skeletal morphologies were found to be quite different, suggesting an absence of family relationship. In 2017 their teeth were re-examined and similar to most ancient Egyptian teeth they display evidence of excessive tooth wear but there is little indication of carious lesions. Khnum-Nakht presents the rare developmental disorder of fusion of the left maxillary incisor and gemination of the right incisor, probably the earliest recorded instance of this irregularity. Analysis of the DNA from their molar teeth has been able to shed some light on the longstanding question of the kinship of the Two Brothers.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-524
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Volume226
Issue number7
Early online date12 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019