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Montreal mummies come to life

Published: 28 Jan 2013

The mummies at McGill University's Redpath museum have been on display for more than 100 years. But for the first time, a team of scientists has taken a closer look at the faces behind the bandages. A team of scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute used CT scans to create 3D reconstructions of the mummies' faces. The facial reconstructions of the three mummies — a young man, a young woman, and an older white-haired woman, were unveiled on Friday at the Redpath Museum. One of the project's most interesting discoveries was evidence of the earliest dental surgery ever performed. Andrew Wade, a postdoctoral fellow in anthropology at Western University, said researchers saw linen packing on one of the mummies' teeth meant to treat a cavity. "It was really exciting because that was a first," Wade said. Victoria Lywood, a forensic artist at John Abbott College, worked with the 3D scans to reconstruct the mummies' faces. "I could see the faces on different levels, how they looked without the bandages. It was stunning," Lywood said. Researchers expect the anthropological analyses of the scans will help provide insight into how these people lived and died. Their data will provide information on demographics, social statuses and medical ailments.
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