It’s 1949, and an earthquake is rumbling through the city of Guano, Ecuador, rattling the walls of a 16th-century convent until they suddenly crack open. And inside the ancient facades hide some gruesome secrets. First, they find the remains of a rat, and then, they discovery a human mummy.
Miraculously, the mummy emerges almost perfectly intact, even though it has spent over 400 years resting among the rubble. Fortunately, you see, its placement has kept it protected from the insects that would have hastened decomposition. And decades later, these well-preserved remains will prove pivotal to scientists, who will discover that they could be a huge clue in the realm of medical research.
In 2019 scientists realized that the mummy’s mangled toes and fingers actually show signs of deformity. More specifically, the 400-year-old body has the tell-tale signifiers of arthritis. And experts hope that these ancient joints may in fact help them find the cure for the disease in modern times.