IS this the oldest bear in the world?

The mummified teddy is going on display at the Tutankhamun Exhibition in Dorchester today. Museum curator Tim Batty said the bandaged bear was discovered by archaeologists from the Institute of Egyptbearology and could have been a treasured childhood toy of Tutenkhamun.

He said: “The discovery of such an ancient Egyptian teddy bear is unprecedented. The 3,000-year-old mummified teddy bear was excavated in a funerary deposit it the Valley of the T’eds near Luxor in Egypt.

Michael Ridley, the director of The Tutankhamun Exhibition, added that a papyrus inscribed in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs found with the bear is extremely rare.

“It is the first papyrus ever found that shows that the ancient Egyptians worshiped the Great Teddy Bear – or as the ancient Egyptians called it Djed-i-bar”, he said.

Not really – it’s just a bear-illiant April Fool’s Day ruse.

The elaborate teddy mummy has been dreamed up by the creative minds at the Dorchester musuem. Lovingly wrapped in intricate bandages and with his own specially created coffin, a perfectly ordinary old teddy was transformed into an extra-ordinary mummy. Tim Batty lifted the sarcophagus on the making of the teddy mummy.

He said: “It took a little time. One of our team of people who work on the displays actually did it. It took a week or two to create the whole thing.

“We thought it was a bit of fun.” The teddy mummy has been wrapped using traditional methods that would have been used in ancient times.

Mr Batty said: “We were trying to bandage him in the way a body would have been bandaged in Ancient Egyptian times– which is why there are things like amulets and scarabs and other talismans you find with a mummy.”

Ancient Egyptians believed the talismans had magical powers to protect the person, or teddy, on their journey to the afterlife. The teddy bear mummy will remain on display at the exhibition until April 6.