King Tut died of malaria, bone disorder

Using the latest radiological and genetic techniques, a team of researchers from Egypt, Germany and Italy have determined that the boy pharaoh King Tutankhamun most likely died of malaria and a degenerative bone disease which also forced him to walk using canes, 130 of which (some with signs of wear) were found in his tomb.

The study, reported Tuesday, turned up no evidence of foul play, as had been suspected by some historians and popular writers familiar with palace intrigues in ancient Egypt. Previous examinations of the Tut mummy had revealed a recent leg fracture, possibly from a fall. This might have contributed to a life-threatening condition in an immune system already weakened by malaria and other disorders, the researchers said. […]

The researchers said that several other pathologies were diagnosed in the Tut mummy, including a bone disorder known as Kohler disease II, which alone would not have caused death. But he was also afflicted with avascular bone necrosis, a condition in which diminished blood supply to the bone leads to serious weakening or destruction of tissue. The finding led to the team’s conclusion that it and malaria were the most probable causes of death.

Three other of mummies tested also had genetic traces of malaria tropica, the most virulent form of the disease, and several mummies shared a variety of genetic disorders like cleft palates, club feet and flat feet.

The mummies all seem to have been related to Tut. One was his father, Akhenaten, another his mother, Tiye, a third his grandmother, all of whom shared Tut’s blood group. The genetic testing indicates that Akhenaten and Tiye were siblings, and it’s thought Tut and his queen were also brother and sister, so it’s no surprise they are so many genetic disorders in the family.

There are more details about the methodology of the testing in this Scientific American article.

The Discovery Channel will be showing a two-part documentary of this study called “King Tut Unwrapped” on Sunday and Monday. You can see some clips of the shows on TDC’s website.

King Tut's face, reconstructed and as is

40 thoughts on “King Tut died of malaria, bone disorder

  1. :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm: your wrong about king tut he wasnt evil he was nice and we all dont now if he was nice or not so get your fact stara about king tut didnt went to hell he want to the underworld were all pharoh go when they die and become gods or goddse. :boogie: :boogie: 😥

  2. If scientists say there was no murder evidence involved then where did the wound on the back of his head come from..? :confused:

  3. It’s clear that the reconstructioned ‘face’ doesn’t come close to the old shrunken face of king Tut’,it’s obvious that they have different bone-structures, take a look at the 2 jaws, look at the lengths of the faces, look at the symmetric fact,
    I am very technical and critical! Also it’s so that the Kings/Queens, Pharaohs… However you’d like to call them, didn’t have such white(almost red-like) skin tones!
    It’s always like this, people will withhold the truth from the people!!!
    I’ll pause for now by saying: Most Historians, (Intentionally)Failed to talk about the thombs and pyramids of Colored(in other words ‘Black’)Egyptian Rulers… Long before there was even a (well known)Cleopatra!

    Jo-ann Blom


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