They consider that this discovery “surprising and strange” was in origin an offering to the crocodile god Sobek. They consider it to confirm the belief of the ancient Egyptians in the resurrection
A 3D scan of the skeleton of an Egyptian crocodile, which is more than 2,500 years old, reveals the existence of at least 47 mummified babies individually next to the body of the animal.
Lara Weiss, a researcher at the Leiden Museum, told Efe that the discovery was “surprising and strange” in a 3-meter-long animal that had already been subjected to dozens of previous tests.
The tomography, which shows perfectly what is hidden inside the animal, was made by the Swedish company of Interspectral technology, specialized in carrying out advanced three-dimensional scanners.
The mother crocodile, Weiss says, was mummified using pieces of wood, flax, plant stems and rope.
However, the expert does not explain why there are dozens of small bodies inside the animal and doubt that the 47 small mummies are daughters own the largest.
“Perhaps there were not enough large crocodiles at the time when the offering was being made,” said the expert, who remembers that a crocodile can put between fifty and sixty eggs.
The remains of the carrier animal were located by Egyptologists in the Al Fayum desert, south of Cairo, a region known for its crocodile worship.
In an exploration of x-rays realized in the decade of the ninety, the experts assured that the body had inside only two small crocodiles that they thought that probably they were children of the mother.
“In the tests that have been done before, you could not distinguish well the presence of half a hundred babies, they seemed simply two large packages,” says the expert.
This 3D scanner also reveals that each of the small crocodiles was mummified individually before being introduced into the larger, mummified crocodile as well.
God crocodile Sobek
The explanation of this “strange mummification,” according to the researcher, is that it is an “offering to the crocodile god Sobek”, an incarnation of the reptile that sailed along the waters of the Nile River and was worshiped, respected and feared by the ancient Egyptians .
In addition, this discovery involving baby and older crocodiles, he adds, confirms the belief of the ancient Egyptians in the resurrection, life after death.
“It’s very rare and it was totally unexpected, and that makes it much more interesting,” he says of an animal so worshiped as feared by the ancient Egyptians.
The body of the crocodile has been in the National Museum of Antiquities of Leiden since 1828 and is on display in its Egyptian galleries.
“The exploration of the crocodile was intended to take new photographs of the animal for an exhibition called interactive virtual autopsy,” Weiss acknowledges, adding that “no one suspected the least” about this discovery.
The museum has put a “virtual autopsy” available to visitors, who will use a large touch screen to discover the physical characteristics and the mummification process.
In addition, they can analyze each part of the animal and have a close-up “detailed” and interactive format of the wrappings of mummified remains of small crocodiles.
This is the second known case in the world of a mummified crocodile that retains such a large number of offspring.
In 2010, the British Museum also revealed details of life, death and the last meal – a cow whose remains were still in the stomach – of a mother crocodile with 20 embedded offspring that had been located in Kom Obmo, a temple to the north Of Aswan.
The mummification of these crocodiles, a final destination that also had many animals of ancient Egypt, is understood as a gift to the gods, in exchange for protection or as a belief in life after death.