Thursday, June 23, 2011

Identifying King Tut's Father

Alice C. Linsley

Amenhotep III, a Kushite Pharaoh
Researchers in Egypt have identified that King Tut is paternally related to a "mystery mummy" from Tomb KV55. This mummy is believed to be Akhenaten who Dr. Hawass, the head of the Egyptian Antiquities Department, believes was King Tut's father.

So far, we have lots of speculation. We don't know the identity of the Mummy buried in Tomb 55.  Originally the body was believed to be that of a woman. Then it was decided that it was the body of a young man. The question of who is buried in Tomb 55 is still open.

It is interesting that the report doesn't say whether Tut's DNA aligned with Amenhotep III's DNA.

The scientists working on this project compared the Y chromosome samples of Amenhotep III and the Mystery Mummy using DNA finger printing. They found that the panels aligned perfectly. So it is clear that Amenhotep III and Mystery Mummy have a common paternal ancestor, but it doesn't mean that the Mystery Mummy is King Tut's father, nor does it identify the mummy from Tomb KV55 as Akhenaten.

Tomb KV55 near Luxor
The 4th Nome of Upper Egypt
Amenhotep III was the father of Akhenaten the Younger who was named by Amenhotep's cousin wife after her father. This means that Akhenaten the Younger ascended to the throne of his maternal grandfather, after whom he was named.

So, what does this DNA study prove?  It proves that Amenhotep III and the mummy in Tomb 55 had a common male ancestor; not surprising since intermarriage between patrilineal lines was a characteristic of the Kushites rulers. It does not prove that the Mystery Mummy was King Tut's father.

A more interesting study would involve comparing mitochrondrial samples since these are received from our mothers. This would be a way to discover the relationship of King Tut to Mystery Mummy. If the mitchondrial samples align we know that Tut's mother and Mystery Mummy had the same mother. This would prove that Tut was the nephew of Mystery Mummy. However, it doesn't prove that Tut was the grandson of Amenhotep III.

Among the Kushite rulers it was the firstborn son of the sister-wife who ascended to the throne of his biological father. The firstborn sons of cousin wives ascended to the thrones of their maternal grandfathers, after whom they were named.

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