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December 19, 1980

Egyptian Artifacts

JAMA. 1980;244(24):2730. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310240022016

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To the Editor.—  The fascinating and scholarly article by Bernadine Z. Paulshock, MD (1980;244:160), on the gynecoid features of Akhnaton, in which she argues that the artisans who created such representations were representing reality, not taking artistic liberties or following formal conventions, accords with an experience my wife and I had several years ago while viewing the ancient Egyptian artifacts of Akhnaton's period.My wife is an ex-marine biologist and ranger-naturalist with the National Park Service and knows a good deal about mammals and birds. Viewing many of these artifacts, she could identify, right down to the species, many of the waterfowl and mammals depicted. Where a species of bird was supposed to have four flight feathers, it had four flight feathers—that kind of accuracy was the rule. I am a veteran sailor and ex-boating magazine writer, and I could recognize, on certain bas reliefs, the masthead knot, bowline, clove