Mummified Baboon DNA Reveals the Location of a Lost Ancient City

A new study has used DNA from ancient baboon mummies to pinpoint the location of a lost ancient city. The city, known as Punt, was once a major trading partner of Egypt.

Punt was mentioned in ancient Egyptian texts, but its exact location has never been determined. The new study suggests that Punt was located in what is today coastal Eritrea.

The study was led by Gisela Kopp, a geneticist at the University of Konstanz in Germany. Kopp and her team extracted DNA from a mummified baboon that dated back to between 800 B.C. and 540 B.C.

They then compared the baboon's DNA to the genetics of modern baboons. The results showed that the baboon was most closely related to populations from coastal Eritrea.

This finding is significant because it provides the first concrete evidence for the location of Punt. It also suggests that Adulis, an ancient port city in Eritrea, may have been a part of Punt.

The study was published in the journal eLife.

Implications of the Study

The study has a number of implications for our understanding of ancient Egypt. It suggests that the Egyptians had a long-standing relationship with Punt. It also shows that they were willing to travel long distances to obtain goods that they valued.

The study also has implications for our understanding of baboons. It suggests that baboons were once more widespread in Africa than they are today. It also shows that baboons were an important part of ancient Egyptian culture.

Future Research

Kopp and her team hope to continue their research by studying DNA from more baboon mummies. They also hope to learn more about the relationship between Egypt and Punt.

Additional Information

  • The baboon is the only animal not native to Egypt that is linked with Egyptian deities.
  • Ancient Egyptians kept baboons in captivity, removing their sharp incisors so they were less dangerous.
  • The baboons were often mummified as offerings to the gods.

This study is a fascinating example of how ancient DNA can be used to solve historical mysteries. It also highlights the importance of international collaboration in scientific research.

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