SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - We love our dogs and cats, but the ancient Egyptians REALLY loved their dogs and cats - not to mention their snakes, crocodiles and birds.
Animals held such a prominent place in ancient Egyptian society that tens of millions were mummified, some going into the pharaohs' tombs to rest eternally in the company of their kings. Others had their own special cemeteries.
Dozens of the best surviving specimens are on display at Orange County's Bowers Museum as the centerpiece of "Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt" through June 15.
The exhibit includes a dog so well detailed that even its floppy ears are prominent. An ancient cat has been laid to rest with its little paws drawn across its body, creating an image reminiscent of a human's funeral pose.
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