Study Finds Preserved Brain Material In Vesuvius Victim

Brain cells have been found in exceptionally preserved form in the remains of a young man killed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago, an Italian study has revealed.

The preserved neuronal structures in vitrified or frozen form were discovered at the archaeological site of Herculaneum, an ancient Roman city engulfed under a hail of volcanic ash after nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in the year 79.

Intact brain cells discovered in skull of man killed in Vesuvius eruption Intact brain cells discovered in skull of man killed in Vesuvius eruption Photo: Pier Paolo Petrone

“The study of vitrified tissue as the one we found at Herculaneum… may save lives in future,” study lead author Pier Paolo Petrone, forensic anthropologist at Naples’ University Federico II, told AFP in English.

“The experimentation continues on several research fields, and the data and information we are obtaining will allow us to clarify other and newer aspects of what happened 2000 years ago during

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Preserved Brain Cells Still Visible In Victim Of Ancient Vesuvius Eruption

KEY POINTS

  • A group of scientists discovered brain tissues intact in ancient human remains 
  • Claims in the new study remain open for debate among other experts
  • The finding adds to astounding discoveries related to the historic  Mount Vesuvius eruption

Frozen neurons remain visible in the brain of a victim of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that took place in 79 A.D. The structure of the brain tissues, including spinal cords, are still intact at present, new research has claimed.

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius is a significant occurrence in the world’s history. The incident covered several Roman cities with thick ashes and molten rock, including Pompeii in Italy. The tragedy would have turned everything in ashes. However, bodies were preserved underneath, like they were frozen in time.

In a new study published in the journal PLOS One, a team of researchers said the neurons and remains of the spinal cords

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Preserved Brain Tissue Found in Victim of Ancient Vesuvius Eruption, Scientists Report

Herculaneum, as it appears today.

Herculaneum, as it appears today.
Image: Pier Paolo Petrone

The catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago is famous for preserving its many victims in volcanic ash. New research suggests this preservation extends to the cellular level, owing to the apparent discovery of neurons in a victim whose brain was turned to glass during the eruption.

New research published today in PLOS One describes the discovery of neuronal tissue in vitrified brain and spinal cord remains belonging to a victim of the Mount Vesuvius eruption, which blew its stack in 79 CE.

“The discovery of brain tissue in ancient human remains is an unusual event,” Pier Paolo Petrone, a forensic anthropologist at University Federico II in Italy and the lead author of the new study, said in a press release. “But what is extremely rare is the integral preservation of neuronal structures of a 2,000-year-old central nervous

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