Young Readers Book Review of Animal Mummies Preserved Through the Ages

by DerdriuMarriner

"Animal Mummies Preserved Through The Ages" acquaints young readers with mummification of animals preserved by extreme weather conditions or by skilled ancient Egyptian embalmers.

The discovery and the significance of mummified animals of the Americas and Asia are the subjects of “Animal Mummies.” The book discusses mummified animals found in an Arizona cave, the frozen ground of central and northern Asia, and the tombs of ancient Egypt and Peru. It emphasizes the learning opportunities that mummified animals afford scientists regarding ancient climates, cultures, and domesticated and wild animals.

"Animal Mummies" is one of four books in a mummy series published by Capstone High-Interest Books in 2003. Two books in Capstone's Mummy Series were written by Charlotte Wilcox:
• Animal Mummies;
• Bog Mummies.
Two were written by Eric Kudalis:
• Ice Mummies;
• The Royal Mummies.

cat mummies of ancient Egypt

British Museum
British Museum


Animal Mummies: Preserved through the Ages treats the delicate topic of mummified animal bodies in non-graphic, non-threatening ways for young readers, especially those aged eight to 10, in the third to fifth grades.

Decomposer bacteria and fungi are part of the cycle of life. They assist the natural process of decomposition. They help in the breakdown of tissue once living organisms die.

But decomposition can be hindered. It is a question of human intervention or natural forces. Human intervention refers to the skills of embalmers. Natural forces take in drying in below-freezing cold or in super-dry heat.


All interventions are included in Animal Mummies: Preserved through the Ages, written by Charlotte Wilcox and published by Capstone High-Interest Books in 2003. Charlotte Wilcox also has written Bog Mummies (2003) for Capstone Press. Capstone’s Mummies series additionally includes Ice Mummies (2003) and The Royal Mummies(2003) by Eric Kudalis.


Animal Mummies introduces elementary school-aged students to ancient animal mummies. The book is divided into four chapters. It looks at where to discover and how to preserve mummified animals. Chapter 3 reveals ancient Egypt’s embalming secrets of removing organs, soaking in natron, and wrapping with bandages and resin.  

The book begins with a breakthrough discovery in northern Russia during spring 1997. Reindeer-herding brothers Simeon and Gennadi Zharkov find tusks protruding from a big, hairy head in the frozen ground. Kostia Zharkov, hunter and family head, reports the discovery to the Taymyr Nature Reserve since the tusks are found in Siberia’s Taymyr Peninsula.

During fall 1999, Mammuthus Program explorer-founder Bernard Buigues (born 1954) orchestrates the mammoth’s relocation in a 20+ ton (18+ metric ton) ice block to the northern Siberian city of Khatanga. Scientists study the mammoth in a cave whose temperature remains at 5°F (-15°C) year-round. They think that the mammoth died 20,000 years ago at the age of 45+ years.

Embalmed animals in super-dry climates also attract scientists. Cairo’s Egyptian Museum in fact holds the world’s largest collection of ancient animal mummies. Scientists and non-scientists like viewing the museum’s impressive collection of birds, bulls, cats, crocodiles, dogs, fish, gazelles and monkeys.


Animal Mummies appends a glossary and an index. It also includes lists of related reading and worthwhile places to browse on the internet or visit in the world. The author’s intelligent treatment of the cultural, historic and scientific contributions from displaying and researching animal mummies makes the book a fascinating reading experience for young readers already acquainted with nature’s cycle of birth and death.


German paleontologist Eugen Wilhelm Pfizenmayer (left) on 1901 expedition to recover frozen mammoth near Berezovka River, Northeast Siberia

O. Herz, Berichte des Leiters (1902), Tafel (Plate) III
O. Herz, Berichte des Leiters (1902), Tafel (Plate) III



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


Image Credits


British Museum: Mario Sánchez, CC BY SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons @,_Egypt_mummies_of_animals_(4423733728).jpg

O. Herz, Berichte des Leiters (1902), Tafel (Plate) III: Public Domain, via Internet Library @


Sources Consulted


Herz, O. (О. Ф. ГерцЪ). "ОтчетЫ начальника экспедицiи Императорской Академiи наукЪ на рѣку Березовку для раскопки трула мамонта. (СЪ 7 табл.). Rapport du chef de l'expédition l'Académie Impériale des Sciences à la rivière Bérésovka pour l'excavation d'un corps de mammouth. (Avec 7 Pl.)." Pages 137-174. Известия Императорской академии наук. 1902. апрель. T. XVI, No. 4. Bulletin de l'Académie Impériale des Sciences de St.-Pétersbourg. 1902. Avril. T. XVI, No. 4.

  • Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library at:

Herz, O.F. "Frozen Mammoth in Siberia." Pages 611-625. Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, Showing the Operations, Expenditures, and Condition of the Institution for the Year Ending June 30, 1903. Washington [DC]: Government Printing Office, 1904.

  • Available via Internet Archive at:

Herz, Otto. Berichte des Leiters der von der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zur Ausgrabung eines Mammuthkadavers an die Kolyma-Beresowka ausgesandten Expedition Otto Herz. Hierzu 4 Tafeln Mit Photographischen Aufnahmen, 2 Tafeln Mit Handzeichnungen und 1 Karte. (Vorgelegt am 27, Februar 1902.). St.-Pétersbourg, Commissionaires de l'Academie impériale des sciences, 1902.

  • Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library at:
  • Available via Internet Archive at:


the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 04/04/2024, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 11/12/2014

burntchestnut, Yes, the fascination of children for dinosaurs is endearing, and I love the way kids fearlessly tackle those multi-syllabic dinosaur names!
This series on mummies supplies youngsters with a scientific perspective which satiates their curiosity about mummies and which also hopefully minimizes the scare factor.

AngelaJohnson on 11/12/2014

All kids love dinosaurs and I think they would be fascinated by mummies, too, especially of animals.

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