With forty specimens from pregnant women, there was growth of one or both species in more than 50% of the cases.
They were often called "the staff of old age," that is, one upon whom the elderly parents could depend upon for support and care.
The scribe Ani instructed that children repay the devotion of Egyptian mothers: "Repay your mother for all her care.
Emmer and barley, the lady should moisten with her urine every day, like dates and like sand in two bags. If the barley grows it will be a male, if the emmer grows it will be a female, if neither grow she will not bear a child.
This technique was tested in the late 20th century, and it showed no growth of either seed when watered with male or non-pregnant female urine.
Among those remains were found the tiny bones of a fully developed fetus.