Fake animal mummies were big business in Ancient Egypt
The Ancient Egyptians are famous for bringing all their loves ones, alive or otherwise, with them to the afterlife in the form of elaborate sarcophagi. Scientists at the Manchester Museum and University of Manchester have recently discovered through scanning techniques that only about a third of animal mummies actually contain real skeletal remains.
Studies have indicated that although some mummies are fully occupied, many have only partial bits, and sometimes even nothing at all. Due to the overwhelming amount of caskets found in ancient tombs, it is believed that this specific practice was a huge industry at the time. Mass breeding for mummification could have been a profitable business in itself.
Discoveries of leftover animal detritus such as nests or eggshells unlinked to skeletons indicates that perhaps the symbolism of an animal friend was enough for a soul to carry on to the afterlife. Clearly, no one liked to travel there alone.