4,600-365 days-Worn Egyptian Painting Depicts Extinct Species of Goose

4,600-365 days-Worn Egyptian Painting Depicts Extinct Species of Goose

University of Queensland’s Dr. Anthony Romilio has examined the ‘Meidum Geese,’ a picture from the Chapel of Itet at Meidum in Egypt.

A Meidum goose (left), life reconstruction (center) and a modern red-breasted goose (right). Image credit: A. Romilio / Tambako the Jaguar.

A Meidum goose (left), lifestyles reconstruction (heart) and a latest red-breasted goose (gorgeous). Image credit rating: A. Romilio / Tambako the Jaguar.

The Meidum Geese picture changed into recount in 1871 in a tomb positioned shut to the Meidum Pyramid, which changed into built by the pharaoh Snefru (reign 2610-2590 BCE).

The tomb belonged to the pharaoh’s son, the vizier Nefermaat, and the picture itself changed into supposedly came all the device in which via in a chapel devoted to Nefermaat’s wife Itet.

As members of the royal household, the pair changed into granted a natty mastaba tomb shut to the pyramid of the king and would possibly maybe well also exercise doubtlessly the most sought-after artists of the day to reduction in its decoration.

The geese were depicted below a scene showing men trapping birds in a clap derive and offering them to the tomb’s owner.

Whereas it is now not routine to search out scenes of fowling within the marshes in Worn Kingdom tombs, this case is one among the earliest and is valuable for the extra special quality of the picture.

“The picture, Meidum Geese, has been admired since its discovery within the 1800s and described as ‘Egypt’s Mona Lisa’,” said Dr. Romilio, a researcher within the College of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences on the University of Queensland.

“Apparently no-one realized it depicted an unknown species.

“The routine nonetheless ravishing rooster changed into moderately now not like novel red-breasted geese (Branta ruficollis), with clear, audacious colours and patterns on its body, face, breast, wings and legs.”

The Meidum Geese painting. Image credit: Djehouty / CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Meidum Geese picture. Image credit rating: Djehouty / CC BY-SA 4.0.

Within the see, Dr. Romilio primitive the Tobias standards, a quantitative formula for delimitating rooster species, to tear making an are trying to search out the picture.

He when put next the visible look of the coloration and body markings within the picture with greylag geese (Anser anser), bean geese (Anser fabalis), greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons), and red-breasted geese.

“I applied the Tobias standards to the goose, alongside with other forms of geese within the fresco,” he explained.

“Right here’s a highly effective formula in figuring out species — using quantitative measurements of key rooster parts — and a great deal strengthens the value of the records to zoological and ecological science.”

Dr. Romilio came all the device in which via that one goose kind resembled greylag geese (nonetheless did now not exclude bean geese), a 2d kind changed into devour greater white-fronted geese, nonetheless the third goose kind did now not plausibly match with red-breasted geese.

“Inventive license would possibly maybe well also yarn for the variations with novel geese, nonetheless artworks from this living non-public extremely reasonable depictions of other birds and mammals,” he said.

“No bones from novel red-breasted geese had been came all the device in which via on any Egyptian archaeological living.”

“Curiously, bones of the same nonetheless now not identical rooster non-public been came all the device in which via on Crete.”

“From a zoological standpoint, the Egyptian artwork is the suitable documentation of this distinctively patterned goose, which appears to be like now to be globally extinct.”

The see changed into published within the Journal of Archaeological Science: Experiences.


A. Romilio. 2021. Assessing ‘Meidum Geese’ species identification with the ‘Tobias standards.’ Journal of Archaeological Science: Experiences 36: 102834; doi: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2021.102834

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