(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists are concerned about a traveling 1800s mummy exhibit in Mexico that could pose a public health risk.
The preserved corpses were inadvertently mummified when they were buried in crypts in dry, mineral-rich soil in the state of Guanajuato.
Some still have hair, leathery shells, and their original clothing. However, one of the mummies apparently retained fungal growths!
The start of a new epidemic?
The National Institute of Anthropology and History notes that the mummies are in glass cases, but it’s not clear how airtight they are.
“They are still on display without guarantees to the public about biohazard,” the institute said.
“According to some published photographs, at least one of the displayed corpses, which was examined by the institute in November 2021, shows signs of the spread of possible colonies of the fungus.”
Scientists believe the mummies should be carefully examined to determine if fungal colonies are a risk to cultural heritage as well as to museum visitors and staff.
Usually these exhibits are put on public display in the state capital of Guanajuato. But they have previously traveled around the country, and some of them were exhibited in the United States in 2009.
The bodies themselves were preserved naturally. Some experts believe that this was due to the climate, the mineral-rich environment, others say it was because of the sealed crypts, although no one knows for sure.
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