A rather peculiar uncovering put the researchers at the Museum of Fine Arts in Rennes, France, in an unusual spot. The scientists discovered, inside a 2500-year-old cat mummy, the remains of three other cats, when they examined the mummy of an Egyptian cat.
The mummies of cats are not as new as some might think. These felines were viewed as sacred animals in Ancient Egypt, and it is believed that the first cats, speaking from an evolutionistic point of view, were born in the region of the Fertile Crescent approximately 10,000 years ago. That was also the period when the first Egyptian people began to live in close contact, and later on tame the African wild cat, scientifically known as Felis silvestris lybica.
Offering for the Gods
These felines had so much meaning that in Ancient Egypt, they were mummified and put together with the mummies and the bodies of their owners. Usually, they were mummified as offerings to the gods.
The researchers don’t have a clue regarding these particular methods of conservation of this unveiling and what it signifies. They observed the peculiar presence of the remains of three other cats without opening the mummy. The team utilized a computerized tomography method, a kind of X-ray, to see what was inside the conserved body of the cat and then digitally recreated the content in 3D.
Another very weird thing found in the mummy was a ball of cloth inside the head of the cat. The feline has no skull, and the body seems to lack the vertebrae and ribs.
Inside the body of the mummy, there are five bones of back legs of three different cats. These bones were punctured due to being eaten during the millennia by mobs of insects of all types, according to Théophane Nicolas, a researcher at the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) who was part of the research team.
In accordance to some researchers, the reason why the remains of the other three cats were inside the mummy can be explained to what can be seen as real ‘scams’ committed at that period by those who made the mummies. The bigger mummies, created as an offering to the gods, were sold at a much higher price than the smaller ones. Therefore, these people tended to fill them with all types of material, such as leather, to make them seem larger than they actually were.