Mummified cat CT scan

Images captured from the Museum's micro-CT scanner

Watch closely as the skeleton of this mummified Egyptian cat is revealed.

What is this?

These are images of a mummified, domesticated cat from ancient Egypt, about 2,500 years old. This specimen is part of a collection of more than 500 cats and other animals presented to the Museum by the famous Egyptologist, Flinders Petrie, in 1907. The majority of the cats in the collection represent the African subspecies of wild cat Felis silvestris.

A series of images of the cat were collected using the Museum's micro-CT scanner and joined together to form this short video. This state-of-the-art instrument works in much the same way as a hospital scanner and uses X-rays to make digital images of objects in 3D. 

What can these CT scans tell us?

Micro-CT scans allow scientists to ‘virtually dissect’ specimens without damaging them. They can find out the age of an animal, check for signs of disease and examine the internal structures of the body.

Why are Museum scientists studying animal mummies?

Richard Sabin, Curator of Mammals at the Museum explains, 'Their skeletons are so well preserved, we can use them to make close morphological comparisons with modern wild and domesticated cats held in our research collections.'

'These specimens help us to understand the processes of domestication and the spread of these animals across the world.'

'We're also interested in looking at any changes in their genetic variability which may have occurred since cats were first domesticated.'