DNA research has given the experts some convincing evidence as to why King Tut died at the young age of 19.
The short answer is in-breeding and malaria.
King Tut’s parents, they say, were brother and sister. On top of that, or maybe because of it, he had a degenerative bone disease. He also had a club foot and a cleft palate.
Around 2005 they determined that King Tutankhamen had also fractured his left leg, probably just before he died. The recent DNA tests showed he had a “severe” form of malaria that affected his brain and, probably, killed him.
For more information:
Here is a report from the New York Times.
Science Daily has a more detailed account.
Discover magazine’s blog has a summary, with several links to related stories.
The Discovery Channel has a selection of video clips about the research, as well as other Tut-related videos.
Here’s a poem I was taught as a boy by my father:
“Time, time,” said young King Tut,
“Is somethin’ I got anything but.”
Hulu.com has that incredibly silly Steve Martin routine from the last millennium’s SNL:
To see how this millennium responds to the legacy of King Tut, try these videos of “tutting” — dance moves that don’t actually involve any dancing (but are fun to watch anyway):
King tut tutorial
Moon vs. Pacman finger tutting battle!
And if you still can’t get enough Tut, try this 2009 story with the delightful title “Sweaty Visitors Spoiling King Tut’s Tomb in Egypt”.