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New Archive Unveils Ancient Human Brains

New Archive Unveils Ancient Human Brains


Researchers in the United Kingdom have assembled a pioneering archive of ancient human brains, challenging conventional assumptions about their preservation.

This collection comprises shrunken, discolored specimens from diverse individuals, including royalty, explorers, and war victims, dating back up to 12,000 years and spanning various locations worldwide.

Preservation of brain tissue is typically rare in geological records, often requiring deliberate intervention like embalming.

However, this study from the University of Oxford documents over 4,000 preserved brains from six continents, revealing unexpected survival patterns.

Co-authors highlight the diverse environments in which brains can endure, from Arctic regions to arid deserts.

Published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the research sheds light on ancient human evolution and the potential roles of diseases.

Further analysis identified preservation mechanisms such as dehydration, freezing, and tanning.

Notably, over 1,300 brains were
uniquely preserved, sparking inquiries into the brain’s distinct resilience compared to other organs. Researchers propose that proteins and fats may combine in the presence of certain elements, aiding long-term preservation.

Lead author Alexandra Morton-Hayward underscores the archive’s significance in unraveling ancient mysteries, emphasizing ongoing investigations into biochemical and environmental factors shaping brain preservation.

Source: Oman News Agency