The case of "Mummy Girl" had gone cold -- 20-plus centuries cold -- but modern technology has allowed some closure. Doctors in South Florida say they've determined a cause of death for a small child who expired some 2,100 years ago. The young girl died of appendicitis.
The doctors arrived at their diagnosis after taking a number of CT scans. Their findings reversed a false diagnosis given more than 40 years go.
X-rays of the Mummy Girl -- whose resting place is normally not a hospital but the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach -- suggested she had died of tuberculosis. But a small calcium deposit in the child's appendix, revealed by the more detailed CT scans, indicated a rupture.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Dr. Chad Kelman told the Sun Sentinel. Dr. Kelman is the chief of radiology at St. Mary's Medical Center, where the Mummy Girl was transferred for further examination. "This isn't something we as physicians train for."
Doctors were also able to offer a better estimation of the girl's age and ethnicity. Previously thought to be somewhere between four and nine years old, the newest examination revealed a the small girl to be caucasian, and no older than 3 1/2.
"This is what science is all about, solving a mystery," said Lew Crampton, CEO of the science center. "With this mystery has come startling results, stories that bring the cold, hard facts of science to life."