<p><strong>Wrapped in linen, this so-called sacred ibis—a hatchling housed at Montreal's <a href="http://www.mcgill.ca/">McGill University</a>—provided some of the first evidence that ancient <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/egypt-guide/">Egyptians</a> sent animal mummies on their final journeys fully fed, a new study says.</strong></p><p>CT scans of the 2,500-year-old <a href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/">bird</a>, one of four specimens used in the study, show that its body was packed with grains after death to sustain it in its afterlife mission as a messenger to the gods, according to findings <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440312000155">published January 13 in the <em>Journal of Archaeological Science</em></a><em>.</em></p><p>"The ancient Egyptians intended to send this ibis to eternity with a full belly," the study team writes.</p><p>(Also see <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/09/0915_040915_petmummies.html">"Egyptian Animals Were Mummified Same Way as Humans."</a>)</p><p><em>—James Owen</em></p>

Artfully Enrobed

Wrapped in linen, this so-called sacred ibis—a hatchling housed at Montreal's McGill University—provided some of the first evidence that ancient Egyptians sent animal mummies on their final journeys fully fed, a new study says.

CT scans of the 2,500-year-old bird, one of four specimens used in the study, show that its body was packed with grains after death to sustain it in its afterlife mission as a messenger to the gods, according to findings published January 13 in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

"The ancient Egyptians intended to send this ibis to eternity with a full belly," the study team writes.

(Also see "Egyptian Animals Were Mummified Same Way as Humans.")

—James Owen

Photograph courtesy Andrew Nelson, University of Western Ontario

Pictures: Bird Mummies "Fed" After Death, Stuffed With Snails

Some of the millions of ancient Egyptian ibis mummies were "fed" after death, scans reveal—the better to live through the afterlife.

Read This Next

U.S. nuclear testing's devastating legacy lingers 30 years later
An astonishing—and accidental—Ice Age cave discovery
The first Black Marines tell their stories—before it's too late

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet