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Prehistoric Human Brain Found Pickled in Bog
Discovery News ^ | 04-06-2011 | By Jennifer Viegas

Posted on 08/17/2012 6:32:07 AM PDT by Red Badger

A brain in near-perfect condition is found in a skull of a person who was decapitated over 2,600 years ago.

A human skull dated to about 2,684 years ago with an "exceptionally preserved" human brain still inside of it was recently discovered in a waterlogged U.K. pit, according to a new Journal of Archaeological Science study.

The brain is the oldest known intact human brain from Europe and Asia, according to the authors, who also believe it's one of the best-preserved ancient brains in the world.

"The early Iron Age skull belonged to a man, probably in his thirties," lead author Sonia O'Connor told Discovery News. "Cause of death is rarely possible to determine in archaeological remains, but in this case, damage to the neck vertebrae is consistent with a hanging."

SLIDE SHOW: Faces of Our Ancestors

"The head was then carefully severed from the neck using a small blade, such as a knife," added O'Connor, a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Bradford. "This was used to cut through the throat and between the vertebrae and has left a cluster of fine cut marks on the bone."

The brain-containing skull was found at Heslington, Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. O'Connor and her team suspect the site served a ceremonial function that persisted from the Bronze Age through the early Roman period. Many pits at the site were marked with single stakes. The remains of the man were without a body, but the scientists also found the headless body of a red deer that had been deposited into a channel.

Laser imaging, chemical analysis and other examinations revealed that the brain naturally preserved over the millennia. The scientists found no evidence for bacterial or fungal activity, and described the tissue as being "odorless…with a resilient, tofu-like texture."

The condition of the brain is remarkable for its age.

"In the air, even in the chill of a hospital mortuary, brain tissue very quickly decays to liquid before muscle and other soft tissues show much evidence of decay," O'Connor said.

She and her colleagues suggest that a fortuitous series of events -- for the brain and science, not the victim -- led to the organ's preservation. Shortly after the man was killed, his head must have been placed, or fallen into, the waterlogged pit that was free of oxygen. While other soft human body parts may not preserve well under such conditions, the wet environment appears to be perfect for keeping brains "fresh," "due to the very different chemistry of brain tissue," O'Connor said.

The researchers don't think the violent way the man was killed aided his brain's preservation. While severing his head separated it from the rest of his body, including the bacteria-filled gut, the decapitation "would also have produced a gaping wound that would have been open to immediate infection from micro-organisms involved in putrefaction." The quick burial in conditions not suited for microbial activity likely prevented that from happening.

In addition to describing this unusually well preserved brain, the journal paper provides the first in-depth study of other prehistoric human brains and soft human tissues discovered by scientists. They include the body of the 5,000-year-old Tyrolean "Ice Man," the Inca mummies of the high Andes, the tanned bog bodies from across Northern and Western Europe, good condition bodies sealed in lead coffins -- such as the St. Bees man, and crypt burials at places like Spitalfields Church, London, where bodies with surviving brain tissue were found.

Glen Doran, chair of the anthropology department at Florida State University, told Discovery News that two aspects of the new study immediately struck him as "notable."

"First," he said, "such preservation is testimony to the amazing preservation in wet sites. Truly amazing things come out of the muck."

"The second, he added, "is the absolutely stellar analysis brought to bear on this special find."

Based on this discovery and other known prehistoric, intact human brains, he agrees that rapid burial in an aqueous environment, as well as near-continual submersion, are essential to human brain tissue preservation.

"The cranium is well designed to protect the brain in life and can, under the right circumstances, remain on duty long after the normal expectation of service," he said.


TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: ancientautopsies; biden; godsgravesglyphs; unitedkingdom

Paging Joe Biden........pickup on the white courtesy phone..........

1 posted on 08/17/2012 6:32:11 AM PDT by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger

2 posted on 08/17/2012 6:36:07 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: Red Badger
*SNICKERING*
totally lost...forever. :-)

3 posted on 08/17/2012 6:37:50 AM PDT by skinkinthegrass (WA DC E$tabli$hment; DNC/RNC/Unionists...Brazilian saying: "$@me Old $hit; w/ different flie$" :^)
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To: Red Badger

4 posted on 08/17/2012 6:37:56 AM PDT by al baby (“If Barack Obama has a Harvard law degree, he didn’t earn that. Somebody else made that happen.”)
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To: Red Badger

“Click to enlarge image”. Uh ... no thanks.


5 posted on 08/17/2012 6:39:59 AM PDT by BillyBonebrake
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To: al baby

Ha! Beat me to it. :-)


6 posted on 08/17/2012 6:40:14 AM PDT by al_c (http://www.blowoutcongress.com)
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To: Red Badger
"Truly amazing things come out of the muck."

Valid commentary on the DNC.

7 posted on 08/17/2012 6:42:41 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (Legalize Freedom!!)
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To: Red Badger

“odorless…with a resilient, tofu-like texture.”


Dang, now I’m hungry and it’s two hours before lunch break.


8 posted on 08/17/2012 6:43:58 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: Slings and Arrows; Revolting cat!; SunkenCiv

Prehistoric Pickled BRAINS PING!

9 posted on 08/17/2012 6:44:58 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (Only Obama put a dog on the roof of his mouth. Dogs are friends, not food.)
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To: Red Badger
They had better hope this is not Donovan's brother's brain.


10 posted on 08/17/2012 6:47:52 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: Red Badger; SunkenCiv

I read this article and THOUGHT of you (LOL!) Hugs, Mom


11 posted on 08/17/2012 6:57:08 AM PDT by momtothree
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To: cuban leaf

what year?great movie scared the crap out of me as a yout


12 posted on 08/17/2012 6:59:21 AM PDT by CGASMIA68
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To: Red Badger

Biden’s nickname is “bog”?


13 posted on 08/17/2012 6:59:34 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: t1b8zs

1953.

It shows why brains are much safer if they remain in the confines of one’s skull.

Who knows what kind of mischief this new one will find itself in...

BTW, the movie “Iron Giant” had a scene where the kid is watching a scary movie and it is clearly based on Donavan’s Brain, though tofu is never mentioned.


14 posted on 08/17/2012 7:34:07 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: All
The remains of the man were without a body, but the scientists also found the headless body of a red deer that had been deposited into a channel.

Anybody stop to think that maybe the head and the body actually go together? Centaur perhaps?


15 posted on 08/17/2012 8:01:16 AM PDT by mmichaels1970
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To: Red Badger
<homer_simpson>Mmmmmmm... Pickled brains...</homer_simpson>
16 posted on 08/17/2012 9:57:14 AM PDT by zeugma (Those of us who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.)
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To: a fool in paradise; momtothree

The answer to the question, did Helen Thomas have a sister?

The reason this answer has been unknown up to now is...

...no one ever wanted to ask the question before.

/rimshot


17 posted on 08/17/2012 3:22:21 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: a fool in paradise; momtothree; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
It's Friday, but don't get fried.

Thanks again to a fool in paradise and momtothree.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


18 posted on 08/17/2012 4:23:49 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Red Badger

“it’s one of the best-preserved ancient brains in the world.”

“with a resilient, tofu-like texture.”

Stop! You’re making me very hungry!


19 posted on 08/17/2012 4:51:26 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

"BRAAAAINS........BRAAAAAAAINS......"

20 posted on 08/17/2012 4:53:35 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

I’m having pressed, spiced, cooked tofu as a meat sub in my stir fry right now! Takes sauce wonderfully, and looks just like that brain!


21 posted on 08/17/2012 4:55:43 PM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: cuban leaf

22 posted on 08/17/2012 5:12:12 PM PDT by Woodman
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To: Woodman

Ah yes. The famous screw top method.


23 posted on 08/17/2012 5:15:55 PM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: cuban leaf

Haven’t seen the movie for ages, but I love Steve Martin. The Jerk was my favorite “...and this lamp. I just wanna keep this lamp...”


24 posted on 08/17/2012 5:19:26 PM PDT by Woodman
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To: Red Badger

Abbey Normal


25 posted on 08/17/2012 10:06:22 PM PDT by ElkGroveDan (My tagline is in the shop.)
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To: Red Badger

26 posted on 08/17/2012 10:20:37 PM PDT by 38special (Vote for Mitt Romney, he sucks less!)
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To: Woodman

My wife and I love to use quotes from the movie to size up situations.

We were in a long line of people one day in the Seattle area waiting to watch a TV pilot to review it. Finally, I said to my wife, “You wanna wait around for an oven mitt?” in my best East LA accent. We left.

And when I listen to the “technically legitimate” complaints of liberals about Ryan (or any other conservatives) and know the liberals know the movie, my response includes the claim: “He’s not carnival personnel!!!”


27 posted on 08/18/2012 4:52:28 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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