July 10, 2007
After setting off to solve the mystery of NefertitiEgypt
's best known royal wiferesearchers instead found evidence supporting the theory that a mystery mummy may be the powerful pharaoh who some experts believe is the father of the famous King Tut. (Read full news story.
Using a state-of-the-art CT scanner, a National Geographic-supported team led by Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, imaged a number of mysterious mummies, including one found very close to the boy pharaoh's resting place. (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society
The researchers discovered the mummy (top left and right) shared many unusual features with Tutankhamun (bottom left and right), including his distinctive, egg-shaped skull. Other similarities include a slight spinal scoliosis, impacted wisdom teeth, a similarly cleft palate, and nearly identical jaw and cheekbones.
These physical similarities add evidence to the controversial theory that the mystery mummy is Akhenaten, one of ancient Egypt's most influential kings and Nefertiti's husband.
But that theory remains controversial, since Tutankhamun's parentage has always been a subject of heated debate.
A number of scientists believe he was the son of Akhenaten. But others say Tut was the son of Amenhotep III, Akhenaten's father. Another theory is that the boy pharaoh was sired by the minor ruler Smenkhkare.
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Photograph by Brando Quilici/National Geographic Television