When we think of mummies, we might imagine the kind from ancient Egypt wrapped up in linen. But there are lots of ways to make mummies—and they can even form in nature.
That’s what I found out from my friend Shannon Tushingham, an archaeologist at Washington State University and director of the WSU Museum of Anthropology.
In ancient Egypt, priests were usually in charge of making a mummy. They used a special hook to pull out the brain. They put the brain in a jar to help preserve it. They put the lungs, liver, intestines, and stomach in jars, too. But the heart was left in place.
The ancient Egyptians believed it was the heart, not the brain, that was the center of someone’s being and intelligence.