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Archaeologists have unearthed a mass grave next to an ancient temple in Egypt that once contained nearly eight million mummified dogs and puppies.
Ancient Egyptians built the temple and catacomb in honour of Anubis, the jackal-headed God of death, in Saqqara, a burial ground in the country's ancient capital of Memphis.
To estimate how many there are, the team took a sample and extrapolated from there how many likely filled up the catacomb. One reason the number is so high is because many of the animals were very small; while there some were mature and likely had full lives, Nicholson speculated that some were “being especially bred for the cult.”
The catacombs are believed to date from between roughly 750 to 30 B.C., up to the time Egypt’s society was interacting more and more with those of Europe, including ancient Greece and Rome.
The catacomb ceiling also contained the fossil of an ancient sea monster, a marine vertebrate that is more than 48 million years old.
"The ancient [Egyptian] quarry men may have been aware of it, or they may have gone straight through it, it's hard to know," said Nicholson, who is researching the fossil with his colleagues.
The catacombs were likely built in the fourth century B.C., and were made out of stone from the Lower Eocene (about 56 million to 48 million years ago). So, it was a nice surprise when researchers discovered a fossil in the catacomb's ceiling. The fossil belonged to a long-extinct marine vertebrate, likely a relative of modern-day manatees and dugongs, Nicholson said.
originally posted by: Halfswede
a reply to: WASTYT
My guess is that the "sea monster" tag was used to sell the article. I'm pretty sure it is just a fossil of a seagoing dinosaur of some type. Not that there is any real difference. If anyone say a plesiosaur today, it would be called a sea monster.
On the other hand, maybe it is a fossilized kracken
The fossil belonged to a long-extinct marine vertebrate, likely a relative of modern-day manatees and dugongs, Nicholson said.
Over 800 animal mummies of various species, such as birds, cats and crocodiles, underwent X-rays and CT scans. One-third of them were boneless or empty, another third had partial remains, and the remaining third contained well-preserved and completely attached skeletons of the animal.
According to Dr. Lidija McKnight, an Egyptologist at the University of Manchester, “We always knew that not all animal mummies contained what we expected them to contain, but we found around a third don’t contain any animal material at all – so no skeletal remains.”
During the Egyptian period, animals were treated as holy so most of them were mummified as religious offerings to the Gods. Experts estimate that about 70 million animals were turned to mummies due to high demand, but still embalmers wouldn’t produce the needed amount because the number of animals is also declining, so they resorted to making empty mummies using a bit of