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No. 95: Sep-Oct 1994

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Evidence Of Tobacco In Ancient Egypt

S. Balabanova et al, at the Institut fur Anthropologie und Humangenetik in Munich, have pulverized and dissolved samples of hair, soft tissue, and bone tissue from seven Egyptian mummies dated between 1070 BC and 395 AD. Chemical analyses detected cocaine, hashish, and nicotine in quantities similar to those found in modern addicts.

(Balabanova, S., et al; "First Identification of Drugs in Egyptian Mummies," Naturwissenschaften, 79:358, 1992. Cr. B. Rudersdorf)

Comment, Presumably, the nicotine was derived from tobacco. Tobacco is widely believed to be a New World plant. Is this belief incorrect? Could the nicotine have come from another source? Were there contacts with the New World before the Vikings and Columbus?

From Science Frontiers #95, SEP-OCT 1994. � 1994-2000 William R. Corliss