The secret of the crocodile mummy

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Crocodile mummy mystery

How does an Egyptian crocodile mummy come to the Salzkammergut?

The Egyptian animal mummy, presumably more than 2000 years old, was donated to the Salzkammergut Museum of Nature by its owner. Previously, it had been stowed away for decades, more or less unnoticed, in a display case in Bad Wimsbach-Neydharting. The still rather mysterious find comes from the estate of the entrepreneur and moor researcher Prof. Otto Stöber, who ran the moor bath in Bad Wimsbach-Neydharting after the Second World War.

Currently, tissue samples from the crocodile mummy are being genetically examined, evaluated and scientifically described at Fordham University-USA.

According to initial findings, the crocodile mummy is the world's only adult male mummified specimen of this crocodile species, which is extinct in Egypt, that has come to the attention of researchers.

The so-called West African Crocodile, Crocodylus suchus E. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire 1807, which is the mummy, is shown in our exhibition for comparison next to two other 4m long specimens of Nile crocodiles, Crocodylus niloticus (Laurenti 1768). Although already described in 1807, scientists did not believe in the real existence of the species Crocodylus suchus since that time. Only completely new and comprehensive studies at the genome of the worldwide spread crocodile species could prove unambiguously that Saint-Hilaire was completely correct in 1807 with his description after a skull, which also came from an Egyptian mummy! Our mummy might be one of the very few outside of Egypt, which proves the former existence of this species in Northwest Africa!

Publication by Prof. Dr. Evon R. Hekkala in the Journal of Archaeological Science (PDF)

Publication by Prof. Dr. Evon R. Hekkala in the Journal of Archaeological Science (translation German, without graphics)(PDF)