King Tutankhamun, also known as King Tut, ascended to the throne at age nine and reigned until his death at approximately 19. Most of what is known about King Tut has only been discovered due to modern forensic and medical technologies, including DNA testing.
Archaeologist Howard Carter found King Tuts' tomb on November 26, 1922, becoming the most famous ancient Egyptian discovery of all time. King Tut was the son of Pharoah Akhenaten, who reigned over Egypt for 17 years.
King Tut took over after his death and ruled Egypt from 1333 to 1323 BC. It is unclear who was the mother of King Tut; scientists claim it could be Queen Nefertiti, or a mummy referred to as ¨Younger Lady, ¨ who is also said to be the sister of Akhenaten.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010 revealed that DNA analysis from the mummy of Tut and his kin revealed that the King Tuts parents were siblings; however, researcher Marc Gabolde also stated the closeness of the DNA does not necessarily have to be siblings, it could be due to, three successive generations of marriage between first cousins.
"The consequence of that is that the DNA of the third generation between cousins looks like the DNA between a brother and sister," Gabolde said, according to the Harvard Gazette. "I believe that Tutankhamun is the son of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, but that Akhenaten and Nefertiti were cousins."
It could be possible that King Tut was the final person in his line who suffered from generations of inbreeding, starting with Seqenere Toa, who married his three sisters and had children with each wife. It led to each subsequent line marrying within the family.
King Tut's being inbred could have caused many health problems that scientists believe he suffered and would explain what they found upon examining the mummy of King Tut. Carsten Pusch, a German scientist studying King Tut's mummy, determined that he must have had debilitating pain while alive. Pusch stating:
"This guy was suffering,"
Archeologists revealed that he had physical abnormalities, such as a clubbed left foot, and Kohler Disease, which affects the blood supply to the navicular bone, known as avascular necrosis, which would cause inflammation and pain, as well as the inability to walk around normally. It would also explain why King Tuts' tomb contained walking sticks.
He was also born with a cleft palate, and a curved spine and suffered from chronic inflammation with a weakened immune system. However, according to scientists, there are two theories on how King Tut died; one idea is that he contracted malaria, and the other suggests he had a broken leg that got infected.
Either way, if he already had a weakened immune system, it would have been difficult for his body to fight off any infection he may have contracted. In King Tuts' tomb, they also found herbal analgesics, which he may have been taking at the time of his death; in particular, they found coriander and Christ's thorn, which are still used to treat fever and chills, according to Dr. Pusch.
"So it becomes a question of trying to combine was what found in the tomb with what we know from this latest research; if he did have a kind of 'afterlife pharmacy,' then it makes sense with the malaria theory," Dr. Pusch said.
King Tut married his half-sister, Ankhesenamum, and had two daughters; unfortunately, they were stillborn and found in King Tut's tomb. As a result, King Tut had no heirs to the throne, ending this direct line of inbreeding.
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