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Baboon mummy DNA from ancient Egypt reveals location of mysterious port city not on any maps
Ancient Egyptians traded with people in coastal Eritrea to bring baboons to their temples, As reported in a new study of baboon mummy DNA.
A study published in the journal eLife has revealed that the baboons were from a region encompassing modern-day Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, providing the first hard evidence for the location of the mysterious port city of Punt.
Researchers were able to extract DNA from a mummified baboon dating to between 800 B.C. and 540 B.C. and compare it to the genetics of modern baboons to determine their origins.
Ancient Egyptian fascination with baboons
Ancient Egyptians associated baboons with the god Babi and the deity Thoth, often keeping them in captivity and mummifying them as offerings to the gods. However, baboons never naturally occurred in Egypt, leading to the mystery of where they originated.
Unraveling the mystery through DNA evidence
The study used DNA evidence to narrow down the origin of the baboons, revealing that they came from the region encompassing modern-day Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. This provided concrete evidence for the location of the fabled city of Punt, which was previously only mentioned in ancient Egyptian documents.
The use of DNA evidence has shed light on the ancient trade routes and connections between different regions, providing valuable insights into the history and culture of ancient Egypt.
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