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Mummy CT scans reveal clues to life of long-ago Peruvian child

It was a she – and there is no hint that she died of a disease.

An analysis of the small mummy – a longtime part of Buffalo’s science collections – that was subjected to high-tech testing by scientists and experts at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in April has revealed that the remains are of a young girl.

She was about 2 years old when she died, experts say.

And, they said, the tests have shown that the long-ago girl does not appear to have died from injury or disease.

“It’s going to remain a puzzle for the time being,” said Dr. Peter Loud, director of body imaging at Roswell Park, of how the child died.

The testing of the mummy – using 3D CT scans – happened in early April at Roswell Park.

At the time, scientists, including Dr. Heather Gill-Frerking, a mummy expert with the American Exhibitions mummy exhibit now in Buffalo, said that a study of the findings of the tests would take some time.

The results were announced by experts at Roswell Park and the Buffalo Museum of Science.

After the scans of the remains – which came from South America and were placed in the Buffalo museum’s collection in the early 1900s, according to museum staff – experts were able to see a small item located on the body, shaped like a tiny rectangle.

Scientists are still studying the item, to determine what it is, according to Roswell Park experts.

“They’re going to be working on it a little bit more, to determine what it’s made of,” said Loud, vice chairman of diagnostic radiology at the institute, who said the object could be a bit of shell or ceramic.

The event took place as a major exhibit on mummies from around the globe, “Mummies of the World,” arrived for exhibition at the Buffalo science museum. It is still running at the museum.

According to leaders of the science museum, the South American child’s mummy has been in the museum’s collection for more than a century.

At Roswell Park, Loud said that the efforts to learn more about the Buffalo mummy yielded high-quality results.

“It worked very well. There were no problems at all. The images came out very well,” said Loud. “I think we got as good a look as we could, given the condition of the mummy.”

The findings so far, based on the high-tech scans, have yielded new information, he said.

“It was unknown before this,” said Loud, of the details on the mummy.