On the trail of a great mystery

An interdisciplinary project led by primatologist Gisela Kopp is using genetic analysis to determine the geographic origin of mummified baboons found in ancient Egypt.

The team finds evidence that the two legendary trading regions of Punt and Adulis may have been the same place separated by a thousand years of history.

In ancient Egypt, various deities were portrayed as animals. Thoth, the god of learning and wisdom was represented by a hamadryas baboon. Baboons, probably held in captivity in Egypt, were mummified as votive offerings after their deaths. Today, no wild baboons live in Egypt, and there is no evidence to suggest that these primates did so in the past. In an interdisciplinary project involving biologists, Egyptologists and anthropologists, Gisela Kopp, a biologist from Konstanz who conducts research on non-human primates, pursued the question of how and from where baboons came to Egypt. The results have been published in the current issue of the journal eLife.

Read more: https://www.uni-konstanz.de/en/university/news-and-media/current-announcements/news-in-detail/einem-grossen-mysterium-auf-der-spur/