These Autopsies of 300-Year-Old Mummies Are Unraveling Mysteries of the Past


The perfectly preserved corpses of a mother and child, lying on a stark-white stretcher: It sounds like a scene out of a horror movie, but that's exactly what you'd have witnessed at the Orange County Global Medical Center on April 4.

Back in 1994, a mummified mom and son were found buried in caskets under a church in Vác, Hungary. Experts estimate the mummies are about 300 years old, but they aren't sure how they died.

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That's why the pair of mummies ended up getting wheeled into the medical center for an unusual type of autopsy, CBS Los Angeles reported.

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A team took 3-D CT scans of the mummies to start piecing together what their life was like and why they died 300 years ago. The mummies are now back on display, and the results of the CT scan will be revealed some time during the ongoing mummy exhibition, CBS Los Angeles reported.

These two mummies were among more than 200 discovered at the Hungarian grave site. Scientists suspect tuberculosis was the cause of death, since there's plenty of evidence the disease was sweeping across Europe during the 18th century. These CT scans could help scientists confirm the theory.

Scanning and 3-D modeling technology like this is increasingly being used to help us unravel mysteries of the past. 

Scientists are using are using it for things like scanning pyramids for grave sites, creating models of ancient fossils and simulating the locomotion of long-extinct creatures. 

Watch the whole CBS Los Angeles news story below: