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A long line of hospital staff wraps around the corridor outside a small conference room in New York to catch a glimpse of the precious cargo.
Inside are the three frail bodies in open wooden crates causing all the commotion. Another body -- a prince no less -- is a few rooms down in a computer tomography scanner.
The goal: Find out who they are, how they might have died and establish a chronology of advances in ancient Egypt's mummification techniques
The scope and ability of CT scan technology are proving invaluable in learning more about the funeral rituals of ancient Egyptians and the mummies themselves. Whereas conventional X-rays cannot clearly distinguish soft tissue from bone and can see only two planes, CT scanning can differentiate among the various types of bone and soft tissue, and reconstruct three-dimensional images that "show fine detail inside coronary arteries down to 0.6 millimeters" said Amgad Makaryus, director of cardiac CT and magnetic resonance imaging at North Shore, providing a better chance at diagnosis and differentiation among diseases.