Scientists find 2,000-year-old brain in Britain

Scientists find 2,000-year-old brain in Britain

Joined: October 6th, 2004, 6:46 pm

December 12th, 2008, 4:57 pm #1

British archaeologists have unearthed an ancient skull carrying a startling surprise an unusually well-preserved brain.

Scientists said Friday that the mass of gray matter was more than 2,000 years old the oldest ever discovered in Britain. One expert unconnected with the find called it "a real freak of preservation."

The skull was severed from its owner sometime before the Roman invasion of Britain and found in a muddy pit during a dig at the University of York in northern England this fall, according to Richard Hall, a director of York Archaeological Trust.

Finds officer Rachel Cubbitt realized the skull might contain a brain when she felt something move inside the cranium as she was cleaning it, Hall said. She looked through the skull's base and spotted an unusual yellow substance inside. Scans at York Hospital confirmed the presence of brain tissue.
Hall said it was unclear just how much of the brain had survived, saying the tissue had apparently contracted over the years. Parts of the brain have been tentatively identified, but more research was needed, he said.

He said it was a mystery why the skull was buried separately from its body, suggesting human sacrifice and ritual burial as possible explanations.

The existence of a brain where no other soft tissues have survived is extremely rare, according to Sonia O'Connor, an archaeological researcher at the University of Bradford in northern England who helped authenticate the discovery.

"This brain is particularly exciting because it is very well preserved, even though it is the oldest recorded find of this type in the U.K., and one of the earliest worldwide," she said.

The old brain is unlikely to yield new neurological insights because human brains aren't thought to have changed much over the past 2,000 years, according to Chris Gosden, a professor of archaeology at Oxford University unconnected with the find.

He confirmed it was the oldest brain found in Britain. He noted that far older preserved brains, thought to be approximately 8,000 years old, were found in 1986 when dozens of intact human skulls were uncovered buried in a peat bog in Windover Farms in Florida.

"It's a real freak of preservation to have a brain and nothing else," Gosden said. "The fact that there's any brain there at all is quite amazing."

Hall said the brain found at York University was being kept in its skull in an environmentally controlled storage facility for further study.
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Joined: June 16th, 2008, 4:54 am

December 13th, 2008, 9:02 pm #2

Interesting, thank you. Sadly I am fairly certain he experiencd information theoretical death but it is cool to see some brain tissue survive for 2000 years!
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Joined: October 6th, 2004, 6:46 pm

December 14th, 2008, 3:00 am #3

Chance to be cloned I guess...
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Joined: October 2nd, 2004, 8:27 pm

December 14th, 2008, 3:33 am #4

British archaeologists have unearthed an ancient skull carrying a startling surprise an unusually well-preserved brain.

Scientists said Friday that the mass of gray matter was more than 2,000 years old the oldest ever discovered in Britain. One expert unconnected with the find called it "a real freak of preservation."

The skull was severed from its owner sometime before the Roman invasion of Britain and found in a muddy pit during a dig at the University of York in northern England this fall, according to Richard Hall, a director of York Archaeological Trust.

Finds officer Rachel Cubbitt realized the skull might contain a brain when she felt something move inside the cranium as she was cleaning it, Hall said. She looked through the skull's base and spotted an unusual yellow substance inside. Scans at York Hospital confirmed the presence of brain tissue.
Hall said it was unclear just how much of the brain had survived, saying the tissue had apparently contracted over the years. Parts of the brain have been tentatively identified, but more research was needed, he said.

He said it was a mystery why the skull was buried separately from its body, suggesting human sacrifice and ritual burial as possible explanations.

The existence of a brain where no other soft tissues have survived is extremely rare, according to Sonia O'Connor, an archaeological researcher at the University of Bradford in northern England who helped authenticate the discovery.

"This brain is particularly exciting because it is very well preserved, even though it is the oldest recorded find of this type in the U.K., and one of the earliest worldwide," she said.

The old brain is unlikely to yield new neurological insights because human brains aren't thought to have changed much over the past 2,000 years, according to Chris Gosden, a professor of archaeology at Oxford University unconnected with the find.

He confirmed it was the oldest brain found in Britain. He noted that far older preserved brains, thought to be approximately 8,000 years old, were found in 1986 when dozens of intact human skulls were uncovered buried in a peat bog in Windover Farms in Florida.

"It's a real freak of preservation to have a brain and nothing else," Gosden said. "The fact that there's any brain there at all is quite amazing."

Hall said the brain found at York University was being kept in its skull in an environmentally controlled storage facility for further study.
You know what really bugs me about this? It's the same thing that bugs me about how archaeologists and other humans have over the decades treated the Egyptian mummies and such preserved persons (I know - some of them were intentionally wrapped after their brains were removed, so I am not talking abut those ones). And the whole idea that some cryonics organizations operate on, being a supposed receiver of whole body donations for anatomical research. Hello? When people arrange for some kind of preservation for themselves in hopes of possibly being revived in the future, should they be treated merely as specimens, to dissect and explore, by some future generation of not-so-fellow humans?

And the one in this report is no different. They are trying to preserve it intact, for what purpose? Possible survival of the person? NO, it is being kept in environmentally controlled conditions "for further study". Ain't that reassuring for the future of cryonics specimens.

FD
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Joined: September 24th, 2005, 6:53 pm

December 14th, 2008, 7:36 am #5


Cryonics contracts state that the procedure is "research" for various ass-covering reasons which you probably would not like too much, but no one (except for paranoid depressives such as myself) is expecting anyone in the future to take "research" seriously.
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Joined: July 1st, 2007, 8:16 am

December 14th, 2008, 8:25 am #6

Charles Platt: “Cryonics contracts state that the procedure is "research" for various ass-covering reasons which you probably would not like too much”

Whatever are the reasons, the bottom line is that it is untrue, therefore deceitful. That gives the future keepers of dewars the legal right to use cryopreserved bodies in other ways, not reanimation, if they so chose. If reanimation will be very expensive, it will be logical for them to do so.

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Joined: August 31st, 2007, 2:14 pm

December 15th, 2008, 1:39 am #7

Cryonics contracts state that the procedure is "research" for various ass-covering reasons which you probably would not like too much, but no one (except for paranoid depressives such as myself) is expecting anyone in the future to take "research" seriously.
The Alcor contracts may say that cryopreservations constitute "research" but the CI contracts do not. (Not bothering to check now, relying on my memory, which isn't great but not that bad.)

Robert Ettinger
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Joined: October 2nd, 2004, 8:27 pm

December 15th, 2008, 2:50 am #8

And from my understanding from having closely scrutinized the signup documents of both Alcor and CI, what Ettinger says here is quite correct.

Also, in my relatively unimportant opinion, it gives CI a bit of a credibility edge over Alcor.

This, plus the fact that CI is licensed in the state of Michigan as a cemetery. Some people think that is a bad thing, but it would tend to prevent "researchers" from performing damaging experiments on the cryopreserved. If for no other reason - there are a lot of laws against messing with the people whose remains are in cemeteries. There ain't any law against doing research on specimens.

If CI is still licensed as a cemetery when it comes my time to sign up, that will be a big plus on my chart.

FD
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Joined: November 16th, 2008, 3:16 pm

December 15th, 2008, 3:15 am #9

British archaeologists have unearthed an ancient skull carrying a startling surprise an unusually well-preserved brain.

Scientists said Friday that the mass of gray matter was more than 2,000 years old the oldest ever discovered in Britain. One expert unconnected with the find called it "a real freak of preservation."

The skull was severed from its owner sometime before the Roman invasion of Britain and found in a muddy pit during a dig at the University of York in northern England this fall, according to Richard Hall, a director of York Archaeological Trust.

Finds officer Rachel Cubbitt realized the skull might contain a brain when she felt something move inside the cranium as she was cleaning it, Hall said. She looked through the skull's base and spotted an unusual yellow substance inside. Scans at York Hospital confirmed the presence of brain tissue.
Hall said it was unclear just how much of the brain had survived, saying the tissue had apparently contracted over the years. Parts of the brain have been tentatively identified, but more research was needed, he said.

He said it was a mystery why the skull was buried separately from its body, suggesting human sacrifice and ritual burial as possible explanations.

The existence of a brain where no other soft tissues have survived is extremely rare, according to Sonia O'Connor, an archaeological researcher at the University of Bradford in northern England who helped authenticate the discovery.

"This brain is particularly exciting because it is very well preserved, even though it is the oldest recorded find of this type in the U.K., and one of the earliest worldwide," she said.

The old brain is unlikely to yield new neurological insights because human brains aren't thought to have changed much over the past 2,000 years, according to Chris Gosden, a professor of archaeology at Oxford University unconnected with the find.

He confirmed it was the oldest brain found in Britain. He noted that far older preserved brains, thought to be approximately 8,000 years old, were found in 1986 when dozens of intact human skulls were uncovered buried in a peat bog in Windover Farms in Florida.

"It's a real freak of preservation to have a brain and nothing else," Gosden said. "The fact that there's any brain there at all is quite amazing."

Hall said the brain found at York University was being kept in its skull in an environmentally controlled storage facility for further study.
http://www.lifepact.com/lifeqst7.htm#travelling
Hanrahan told over what Tupac's memories already contained. He told Tupac what they had done. They had stolen the only fragments of Tupac's brain existing and revived him out of them in a Resurrectionist secret house.

The fragments had been found in a tropical swamp and stored in a museum for study. They had spent 20 years inferring everything they could about him. Not only that but they could prove to him, quietly and with regret, that every thing else had vanished into cosmic noise. By inference they could discover a few words and an elementary grammar of his old language. They could say a little about how this man had lived. They knew his complete genetic plan. They knew the common tools these people used to scrape their living. All this information they added to Tupac's memories, since he must have known these things. So that he needn't wander in ignorance, they also gave him all the common knowledge of their own time, their language, how they lived too. Finally, because all people must have names, they had given him a name.
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Joined: July 1st, 2007, 8:16 am

December 15th, 2008, 7:15 pm #10

And from my understanding from having closely scrutinized the signup documents of both Alcor and CI, what Ettinger says here is quite correct.

Also, in my relatively unimportant opinion, it gives CI a bit of a credibility edge over Alcor.

This, plus the fact that CI is licensed in the state of Michigan as a cemetery. Some people think that is a bad thing, but it would tend to prevent "researchers" from performing damaging experiments on the cryopreserved. If for no other reason - there are a lot of laws against messing with the people whose remains are in cemeteries. There ain't any law against doing research on specimens.

If CI is still licensed as a cemetery when it comes my time to sign up, that will be a big plus on my chart.

FD
FD: “This, plus the fact that CI is licensed in the state of Michigan as a cemetery. Some people think that is a bad thing, but it would tend to prevent "researchers" from performing damaging experiments on the cryopreserved. If for no other reason - there are a lot of laws against messing with the people whose remains are in cemeteries.”

In the long term the cemetery protection in Michigan State is quite weak. It would be much better if cryo organizations were registered, or licensed with their true purpose. Here is an excerpt from the Michigan State cemetery law. In case of neglect to pay, or properly maintain cemetery space it gives the the owners of a cemetery space only 7 years protection, after which it can be forfeited and cancelled.

Michigan State law: “If the owner of a burial space in a public cemetery, subject to the provisions of this act, fails and neglects for a period of 7 years or more to care for and maintain the burial space in accordance with the laws, rules, and regulations relating to the care and maintenance of burial spaces, the cemetery board may institute proceedings for the termination and forfeiture of the owner's rights and interest in the burial space.”
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