In 2011, I scanned a 3,000 mummy, as described in my earlier post. This is just a quick note about his perspicuously elongated skull shape, known as dolicocephy (elongated head).

First, here’s the profile of Neskhons (the mummy I scanned):

Neskhons Profile

Next, here’s a shot of two other mummies:

Tut_and_KV55

(photo (c) National Geographic)

You can see the obvious resemblance in all three skulls. Now here’s the kicker. The bottom-left mummy is King Tut. The one on the right comes from a scan in 2007 of another mummy found in 2007. That mummy was speculated to be the body of Tut’s missing father Akhenaten — based in large part on the observation that the skull looks roughly alike. From the National Geographic news report:

“The CT scan supports the idea that the mummy is Akhenaten by revealing it as a male between the ages of 25 and 40 who shares many physical similarities with Tut—assuming Akhenaten was Tut’s father, as some experts believe. The mystery mummy’s strange elongated, egg-shaped skull, called dolichocephalic, is strikingly similar to Tutankhamun’s.”

Unfortunately, that alone is poor evidence, and here’s why. Tut lived 350 years before Neskhons, and yet the skull shape is shared: it was common among the Egyptian royals. Therefore, one cannot draw a meaningful conclusions that two mummies are likely to be father and son simply based on an argument that their skulls look alike!

"David Eagleman is the kind of guy who really does make being a neuroscientist look like fun."
- New York Times
"A popularizer of impressive gusto...[Eagleman] aims, grandly, to do for the study of the mind what Copernicus did for the study of the stars."
- New York Observer
"Eagleman has a talent for testing the untestable, for taking seemingly sophomoric notions and using them to nail down the slippery stuff of consciousness."
- The New Yorker
"[A] neuroscientist and polymath."
- Wall Street Journal
"What Eagleman seems to be calling for is a new Enlightenment."
- Sunday Herald
"David Eagleman offers startling lessons.... His method in both Sum and his new book, Incognito, is to ask us to cast off our lazy, commonplace assumptions."
- The Guardian
"David Eagleman may be the best combination of scientist and fiction-writer alive."
- Stewart Brand