This is your brain, boiled
Well, not yours obviously, but someone’s.
In its alive and healthy state, the human brain is roughly three pounds of tissue with the reported consistency of oatmeal, though more fun-loving folks might prefer the Jell-O analogy. Men have slightly larger brains than women, but no one suggests that’s any correlation to actual intelligence.
In composition, a whole human brain is almost 80 percent water, with the remainder made up of lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, soluble organic substances and inorganic salts.
So the natural presumption might be that, say, boiling a brain would render it, well, non-existent. Wouldn’t it just dissolve? Not necessarily.
The image above depicts one of four brains found in human skeletons unearthed from a 4,000-year-old Bronze Age burial mound near the city of Kutahya in western Turkey. The bodies had been burned and buried (possibly victims of a long-ago earthquake and fire), but circumstances and chemistry strangely preserved the brains.
The New Scientist explained:
“The flames would have consumed any oxygen in the rubble and boiled the brains in their own fluids. The resulting lack of moisture and oxygen in the environment helped prevent tissue breakdown.”
Soil chemistry also helped. Potassium, magnesium and aluminum in the dirt reacted with fatty acids in brain tissue to help maintain the brains’ original shapes.
You can dig further into the story here.

This is your brain, boiled

Well, not yours obviously, but someone’s.

In its alive and healthy state, the human brain is roughly three pounds of tissue with the reported consistency of oatmeal, though more fun-loving folks might prefer the Jell-O analogy. Men have slightly larger brains than women, but no one suggests that’s any correlation to actual intelligence.

In composition, a whole human brain is almost 80 percent water, with the remainder made up of lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, soluble organic substances and inorganic salts.

So the natural presumption might be that, say, boiling a brain would render it, well, non-existent. Wouldn’t it just dissolve? Not necessarily.

The image above depicts one of four brains found in human skeletons unearthed from a 4,000-year-old Bronze Age burial mound near the city of Kutahya in western Turkey. The bodies had been burned and buried (possibly victims of a long-ago earthquake and fire), but circumstances and chemistry strangely preserved the brains.

The New Scientist explained:

“The flames would have consumed any oxygen in the rubble and boiled the brains in their own fluids. The resulting lack of moisture and oxygen in the environment helped prevent tissue breakdown.”

Soil chemistry also helped. Potassium, magnesium and aluminum in the dirt reacted with fatty acids in brain tissue to help maintain the brains’ original shapes.

You can dig further into the story here.

Notes

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