Mummy's lung infection is diagnosed 500 years later

  • Updated: August 4, 2012 - 4:25 PM
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A 500-year-old frozen Incan mummy, in an undated handout photo. Forensic anthropologists compared proteins from the Inca girl to a large database, determining she had what looked like a chronic respiratory infection.

Photo: Angelique Corthals, Associated Press - Nyt

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DISEASE DIAGNOSED IN A 500-YEAR-OLD MUMMY

An Inca girl who lived 500 years ago suffered from a bacterial lung infection just before she died, report scientists who examined her mummy. The girl, about 15, was sacrificed at the summit of Llullaillaco volcano in Argentina, said Angelique Corthals, a forensic anthropologist at the City University of New York. The study, published in the journal PLoS One, used a technique that compared the proteins found in the mummy against genome databases. The mummy was one of three sacrificed children found in 1999. "The girl actually had gray hair, so I think they knew their fate," Corthals said. "And the little girl and boy also had their teeth ground down." NEW YORK TIMES

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