Mummification

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mummification

[‚məm·ə·fə′kā·shən]
(medicine)
Drying of a part of the body into a hard mass.
Dry gangrene.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mummification

 

the drying of a corpse or dead parts of a living organism. Natural mummification occurs because moisture escapes from dead tissue or a corpse in the absence of conditions that favor the decomposition of tissues. (Such conditions include high temperature and loose soil, which facilitate the evaporation of moisture and movement of warm air.) Artificial mummification is achieved by saturating a corpse with special embalming substances. There are also cases of criminal and ritual mummification, generally of the head. In mummification, the corpse or any of its parts retains its shape while losing up to 75 percent of its weight.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.