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Newest King Tut Theory: He Suffered Severe Disorders From Inbreeding

Problems included a club foot that prevented him from walking unaided

(Photo: Tim Graham/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

King Tut's parents might have been brother and sister, causing the child pharaoh to suffer from severe genetic disorders, according to the results of a new study of King Tut's remains.

As the Independent reports, researchers from the Institute for Mummies and Icemen in Italy took more than 2,000 scans of King Tut's mummy to reconstruct what the pharaoh looked like when he was alive. The scans revealed that King Tut had a debilitating club foot that prevented him to walk unaided. This finding is supported by the fact that the pharaoh was buried with 130 used canes, the Independent points out.

These new theories about King Tut's life and circumstances, however, run counter to last year's findings that King Tut died as a result of injuries sustained in a chariot crash. According to the Italian researchers, King Tut couldn't have died in such an accident because his club foot would have prevented him from riding on a chariot in the first place, the Independent reports. Furthermore, the new team of researchers says that only one of the bone breaks formerly attributed to the accident was made before the pharaoh died, with all of the others occurring post mortem. 

The Italian researchers think that King Tut's death can be attributed to his generally weakened state from genetic afflictions—problems likely exacerbated by malaria, which he was known to suffer from—rather than to a chariot accident. These newest theories, the Independent adds, will be explored in depth on an upcoming documentary aired on BBC One and the Smithsonian Channel, on November 2. (Last year's chariot-death theory had its own special on Channel 4.) The truth of King Tut's death might have been laid to rest with his contemporaries; speculations about the event, though, seem to have eternal life.

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