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Possible Preserved Brain Matter Revealed from 8,000-Year-Old Skull

brain matter

Photo credit: Hans Petter Reppe / NRK

Recently the remnant of an 8,000-year-old skull was discovered at an archeological site of Stokke in Norway. Whether the skull was a human child’s has to confirm yet, because it might belong to an animal.

Surprisingly, some gray, clay-like material within the skull had been found by the researchers who believed that they could some traces of preserved brain matter. In the interview with Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), Gaute Reitan, the leader of the dig team said, if the skull was confirmed to be human, it  would be one of the oldest human brains discovered so far.

According to the preliminary testing, the skull could be dated back to about 5900 BCE. In order to identify the species of the skull uncovered at the Stokke site, Reitan had resorted to the assistance from paleoanthropologists.

Reitan’s team has been engaging in exploration of the site for two months and they wanted to dig more before a convention center would be finally established over the land. It was hoped that information collected on the spot would be much helpful in identifying the life style of then Norwegians in the period of the Stone Age.

When answering questions raised by NRK, Reitan said that it was rare to have the opportunity to dig in a camp linked with the Stone Age, with which the scientists were not quite familiar, however, their work should be regarded as a special one, because they had uncovered a lot of things that were believed to be quite exceptional on a national basis

At present, Reitan’s crew has successfully identified several bone fragments, but further work needs to be done so as to identify which part of the body they belong and what species they come from. As they have found the oldest unburned bones in Norway, Reitan described their discovery as a “once in a career”.

Undoubtedly, the further analyzing the skull as well as potential brain matter could result in more amazing findings. Such well-preserved brain matter would allow scientists to know more about what kind of diseases might be prevailing in the region at that time.

Up to now, the oldest preserved brain being uncovered at Western Turkey is dated back to 4,000 years ago. The scientists had found four burnt human skeletons buried in sediment, which was possibly caused by tectonic activity. It was likely that a fire spread throughout the region, thus draining the oxygen from around the bodies and boiling bodily fluids. In this way, the enzymes were stopped within the brain from damaging the tissue, so it had been well-preserved.

 Source: io9

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