Arm falls off 19th century mummy

A museum in Guanajuato, Mexico, is accused of mistreating 19th-century mummifed bodies after the arm fell off one of them. Mexico's federal archaeology agency is upset, reports the AP, and wants the bodies removed from the city's scope of authority.

But in fact, the mummies have been on a somewhat grisly display in glass cases in a museum in Guanajuato, the capital of the state of the same name, and toted around to tourism fairs for decades. Some were exhibited in the United States in 2009.

What appears to be at the root of the latest dispute is a turf battle between the INAH, which believes it has jurisdiction over the mummies because it says they are "national patrimony," and Guanajuato, which considers them a tourist attraction.

The institute will not say if "other bits of mummies had fallen off." The bodies were not intentionally mummified, but formed naturally in burial crypts in Guanajuato, where there is only about three inches of rainfall a year. Moreover, while the humans are most certainly dead, the mummies themselves are not quite lifeless.

In 2023, experts from the institute complained that a traveling display of mummies could pose a health risk to the public, because one of the mummies appeared to have fungal growths.

We're gonna need a bigger cat.