London, September 1 : An anatomist has claimed that two mummified foetuses found buried with Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun may have been his twin daughters.
According to a report in the Times, the scientist in question is Professor Robert Connolly, an anatomist who is working with Egyptian authorities on Tutankhamun's tomb.
Connolly's preliminary tests on the mummified remains of the two still-born babies indicate that Tutankhamun may have fathered them both.
"The two foetuses in the tomb of Tutankhamun could be twins, despite their very different size and thus fit better as a single pregnancy for his young wife (Ankhesenamun). This increases the likelihood of them being Tutankhamun's children," said Connolly, who first studied the remains of Tutankhamun in the Sixties.
"I studied one of the mummies, the larger one, back in 1979, determined the blood group data from this baby mummy and compared it with my 1969 blood grouping of Tutankhamun. The results confirmed that this larger foetus could indeed be the daughter of Tutankhamun," he added.
"Now we believe that they are twins and they were both his children," he further added.
According to Connolly, a physical anthropologist at the University of Liverpool, "It is a very exciting finding which will not only paint a more detailed picture of this famous young king's life and death, it will also tell us more about his lineage."
The foetuses have been stored at the Faculty of Medicine in Cairo University since the archaeologist Howard Carter discovered them in the teenage king's tomb on the west bank of Luxor in 1922.
Egyptologists have long debated whether they were his children or if they were placed in the tomb with the symbolic purpose of allowing the famous pharaoh to live on as newborns in the afterlife.
The answer to this hereditary puzzle is closer because the two foetuses are to undergo CT scans and DNA testing to determine possible diseases and their relation to Tutankhamun.
The smaller foetus is about five months in gestational age and the larger foetus is estimated to be between seven and nine months. The results of the remaining tests are due in December.
According to Rosalie David, of the University of Manchester's Faculty of Life Sciences, "Tutankhamun is such an important figure in Egyptology. He was a fascinating character whose tomb and indeed body has given us so much information about life in Ancient Egypt, and it seems that he will continue to do so for some time yet."