24. The Ancient Egyptian Pee-On-Plants Pregnancy Test Actually Worked
In a fascinating twist, when the Ancient Egyptian pee-on-wheat-and-barley pregnancy test was subjected to scientific examination via modern methodology in 1963, it turned out that there might actually have been something to it. To be sure, the test did nothing to predict whether the fetus was male or female. However, it did not do too badly when it came to the detection of whether a woman was pregnant or not. 70 percent of the time, the pee of pregnant women actually promoted growth in wheat and barley.
By contrast, the urine of non-pregnant women (and men) did not have a positive impact on the plants’ growth. It was the earliest known example of testing for pregnancy by detecting something unique in the urine of pregnant women. Scholars identified this test as the first recorded in history to work along the lines of modern pregnancy tests that work by identifying something in the pee of pregnant women that s not present in the pee or those who are not with child. The elevated levels of estrogen in pregnant women’s pee might have been the key to the test’s success.