Researchers discovered ancient animal mummies piled up in heaps inside a catacomb. Many of the mummies were in poor condition. Courtesy of Paul Nicholson hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Paul Nicholson

A mummy of a Chinchorro child, dating to between 5000 B.C. and 3000 B.C. The Chinchorros were hunter-gatherers who lived in the region between modern-day Peru and Chile. Claudio Santana/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Claudio Santana/AFP/Getty Images

Eduard Egarter-Vigl (left) and Albert Zink (right) sample Italy's mummified iceman for genetic analysis in November 2010. Previous research suggests he, too, was predisposed to heart disease. Samadelli Marco/EURAC hide caption

itoggle caption Samadelli Marco/EURAC

The beef rib mummy that the researchers tested came from the tomb of Yuya and Tjuiu (sometimes spelled Tuyu). Seen here is a mask of Tjuiu, made out of gilded cartonnage, that was also found in their tomb. Andreas F. Voegelin/AP/Museum Of Antiquities Basel hide caption

itoggle caption Andreas F. Voegelin/AP/Museum Of Antiquities Basel

A 3-D reconstruction of Mummy 38's CT scans shows calcification in her aorta and iliac arteries. Courtesy of The Lancet hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of The Lancet