When a museum in Boston wasn't sure to whom a mummified head it had on display actually belonged, it asked the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to take a look, the New York Times reports.
It adds that the tomb where the head was found belonged to Djehutynakht and his wife, but had been ransacked, making it unclear if it actually was one of theirs. Governor Djehutynakht and Lady Djehutynakht lived around 2000 BC and ruled a province of Upper Egypt during the Middle Kingdom, the Times notes.
The Museum of Fine Arts decided that a DNA test could help solve the mystery and asked the FBI to do the analysis, the Times says. The team extracted a molar for analysis and sent it to Odile Loreille at the FBI in 2016.
Loreille and her colleagues now report in the journal Genes that they were able to determine the sex of the mummy — male — and trace its mitochondrial haplotype to a version that's common among Eurasians. This and another study from Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History suggests that ancient Egyptians might be more closely related to modern Middle Eastern and Europeans than to modern Egyptians, though the researchers caution that two samples are not enough to draw broad conclusions, the Times adds.