Scientists have found intact brain cells in the remains of a man who died almost 2,000 years ago.
The body of the man, who died in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, was actually discovered back in the 1960s, according to Italian researchers. However, the discovery of his intact brain cells came only recently after University of Naples scientists noticed "some glassy material shining from within the skull," according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. "The brain exposed to the hot volcanic ash must first have liquefied and then immediately turned into a glassy material by the rapid cooling of the volcanic ash deposit," says researcher Pier Paolo Petrone.
The "totally unprecedented" discovery "opens up the room for studies of these ancient people that have never been possible," Petrone says.
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