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Buried ancient Egyptian animals came from private zoo

Evidence has been found that the animals found in tombs in Hierakonpolis belonged in a menagerie run by the city’s ruler. Click through the gallery to read more about the discoveries there.

At the edge of a cemetery in Hierakonpolis, Egypt’s first city, lies a baboon, buried 3,500 years ago in a tomb near others containing nine dogs and six cats. It was these animals’ job to protect the elite necropolis.

Hierakonpolis, south of Cairo, has more animal burials than any early Nile Valley urban center. But their purpose has long puzzled archaeologists.

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