King Tut's life not so regal, autopsy reveals

Egyptian King Tutankhamun, better known as King Tut, was not a victim of murder, a new study reveals.

The ruler, who died at the age of 19 in his ninth year of rule, didn't have it so easy, however. A recent (relative to his death) broken leg and a case of malaria, the oldest confirmed instance of the disease, were likely the main contributing factors to the young king's death. In addition to providing "the oldest genetic proof of malaria in precisely dated mummies," Tut's lineage reveals cleft palates, club foot and degenerative bone disease among other pervasive chronic ailments. Four of the eleven mummies from Tut's line studied revealed a presence of the most serious strain of malaria, malaria tropica.

The bulk of insights gleaned from the studies didn't come from evaluation of the mummies, though:

"Most of the disease diagnoses," the scientists concluded, "are hypotheses derived by observing and interpreting artifacts and not by evaluating the mummified remains of royal individuals apart from these artifacts."
Discovery Channel is devoting two nights to the findings in a series airing Sunday and Monday, King Tut Unwrapped.

[NYT]