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When a team of scientists scanned hundreds of Egyptian animal mummies, the researchers were in for a surprise: Roughly a third of all the mummies contained no body inside. CT scans and x-rays were used to peer inside more than 300 mummies of animals, including cats, birds, and crocodiles, found at several British museums.

A third of the relics contained complete animal skeletons. Another third contained partial remains. And the remainder had no bones at all, but instead contained other materials, such as mud, sticks, eggshells, and feathers.

Scientists estimate that the Egyptians may have mummified as many as 70 million animals from 800 B.C. into the Roman period ( 27B.C. to 476 A.D.). About 30 Egyptian catacombs containing millions of animal mummies have been found. Each was dedicated to a single animal- a dog, a cat, or a monkey, for example. Animals may have been mummified for various reasons- they were important during their lifetimes,  household pets buried with their owners, or perhaps  offerings to the gods for prayers answered. The researchers can not say for sure what each mummy was for, only that the Egyptians treated these remains with the same care as human mummies.  LiveScience.com

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