Cultures, Morales & Humanism

World’s Oldest Mummies Are Changing Into Dark Slime

Who ever haven’t heard of mummies and found curiosity in those ancient entities. But here is something regarding them is shocking that might let you to think over this. Yes ! those mummies are now getting converted into black deep slime due to nature’s cost.

The Chinchorro mummies of Chile, which have been preserved for at least 7,000 years, are turning into black slime due to rising humidity levels causing bacterial growth on the skin. More than one hundred mummies – the oldest in the entire world – are turning gelatinous as a result of the rapidly spreading bacteria. Chilean researchers are now seeking funds to preserve the deteriorating mummies before they are lost for good.

The Chinchorros were a people who inhabited the coast of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile and southern Peru between 7000 and 1500 B.C. The people of this culture relied on fishing, hunting and gathering for subsistence. Whilst the earliest known Chinchorro sites date to 7000 B.C., mummification, based on current evidence, dates to 5000 B.C.

The Chinchorro mummies were first identified in 1917 by the German archaeologist, Max Uhle. Further excavations showed that such mummies were spread along the coast and concentrated between Arica and Camerones. It was in 1983, however, that the largest and best-preserved find of Chinchorro mummies was discovered. This discovery was made not by archaeologists, but by the Arica water company whilst laying a new pipeline near the foot of El Morro.

Chinchorro mummies are one of the wonders of Andean archaeology and appear to reflect the spiritual beliefs of the ancient Chinchorro people, although the exact reason why they mummified their dead is unknown. Some scholars maintain that it was to preserve the remains of their loved ones for the afterlife, while another commonly accepted theory is that there was an ancestor cult of sorts, since there is evidence of both the bodies traveling with the groups and of being placed in positions of honour during major rituals, as well as a delay in the final burial itself.

The reason the mummies have been so incredibly preserved is that they’ve been buried under the dry sands of the Atacama Desert for thousands of years – where some parts of the earth haven’t been touched by rain in over 400 years.

Over the past century, they’ve been excavated and transported to local research institutions for conservation.

Early in 2015, things started to go awry, and Chilean preservationists turned to scientists at the University of Harvard for help.

“We knew the mummies were degrading but nobody understood why,” Harvard biologist Ralph Mitchell said at the time. “This kind of degradation has never been studied before.”

Tissue sample analysis from the mummies revealed that they were crawling with bacteria – but it wasn’t ancient bacteria, they were the kind that normally live on people’s skin. And they’re now speeding up the degradation process like nothing else.

“As soon as the right temperature and right moisture appeared, they started to use the skin as nutrients,” Mitchell told Live Science, adding that unless local researchers can keep the Chinchorros mummies under the right temperature and humidity conditions, “the native microorganisms are going to chew these guys right up”.

There’s no word yet on whether the application to UNESCO will be approved, but let’s hope the local researchers will find the help they need to keep these mummies safe.

SOURCES – Sciencealert , Ancient-Origins


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