2,500-Year-Old Human Brain Found in England

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PostTue Mar 29, 2011 2:43 pm » by Rydher

The discovery of a 2,500-year-old in-tact human brain in England has scientists, well, racking their brains. But at least now they have some answers.

The brain was originally found in a decapitated skull in a muddy pit in 2008 during a construction project at the University of York. At the time, scientists had lots of questions about the find. And while many of those still linger, at least now there are some answers. Livescience.com shares what’s now known:

When it was found, the skull — which belonged to a man probably between 26 and 45 years old — was accompanied by a jaw and two neck vertebrae, bearing evidence of hanging and then decapitation. Cut marks on the inside of the neck indicate that the head was severed while there was still flesh on the bones, O’Connor said. There is, however, no indication of why he was hanged, and the rest of his remains have yet to be found. [...]

The skull has been dated to some time between 673 and 482 B.C.; Romans, meanwhile, arrived in the area in A.D. 71, according to Richard Hall, director of archaeology at the York Archaeological Trust, which the university hired to assess the site and handle the excavation in Heslington. This appears to have been a permanent settlement with ditches that divided the area into fields and walled parkways through which cattle could be driven, Hall told LiveScience.

“It was just amazing to think that a brain of someone who had died so many thousands of years ago could persist just in wet ground,” Sonia O’Connor, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Bradford, told Livescience.com. O’Connor has been assessing and studying the brain since its discovery in 2008.

“It’s particularly surprising, because if you talk to pathologists who deal with fresh dead bodies they say the first organ to really deteriorate and to basically go to liquid is the brain because of its high fat content,” she added.

In an upcoming article in the Journal of Archaeological Science, O’Conner and will reveal a list of other, similarly preserved brains found since 1960.

Read the full report from Livescience.com.
Credit to: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2500-year-old-human-brain-found-in-england/

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