The child was mummified with his arms across his chest, and wrapped in mummy linen. It was in a decorative plaster coffin, with details such as tiny sandals painted on the feet of the cartonnage.
StudiesNew scans from a Canadian-led team reveal that the fetus was just 24 centimetres long and stillborn at 23 to 28 weeks of gestation. The child had severe anencephaly, a disorder where the brain and skull fail to develop; and spina bifida, where the bones of the spine don't form properly around the spinal cord. Anencephaly and spina bifida are thought to be linked to a lack of folic acid in the mother's diet and most recently has been associated with the Zika virus.
Scans reveal normally formed finger and toe bones, but so serious is the skull deformation, that the brain would have been practically nonexistent. He also had a cleft palate and a cleft lip.
There are only about nine known mummified Egyptian fetuses, including the Youngest Mummy, and only two that suffered from anencephaly, making the discovery extremely rare.
To mummify an infant was very rare. In ancient Egypt, fetuses tended to be buried in pots in various ways. There are only about eight known to have been mummified.