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Clues of Human Origin Found in 2,330-Year-Old Skeleton

human skull

<![CDATA[Usually when archaeologists or other scientists find skeletal remains, especially those that are hundreds or even thousands of years old, just the bones are observed with no trace of what they once supported. Now archaeologists working at a necropolis in Egypt have made a very rare find; skeletal remains with blood vessel imprints in the person's skull. The mummy is of a man who lived during the Ptolemaic Period, around 550-150 BC, in Egypt. The scientists are now trying to figure out the processes that may have led to the preservation of these skull imprints. The results were published on September 19th in the journal Cortex. The mummy was part of a group of fifty skeletal remains found in the Kom al-Ahmar/Sharuna necropolis in Egypt. Only one of the fifty bodies found had imprints of blood vessels on it, as a matter of fact, it is one of very few cases where blood vessels have been left imprinted in bones. The imprints were very well preserved, and all its details could be made out. The people who performed the mummification did an excellent job in preserving the skeletal remains with several substances, which in turn preserved the blood vessel prints. The preservative substances consisted of bitumen mixed with linen, and others. According to the archaeologists, the imprints were left by blood vessels in the meninges, specifically the middle meningeal artery. The meninges is the membrane that surrounds the brain. The study was led by orthopaedic surgeon and researcher Albert Isidiro, and two associates. Isidiro remarked in the study that it was an amazing find, as there have only been a few cases like this in history. The scientists hope to find the process by which the skull was so well-preserved. During mummification, the brain was usually removed through the nose. After this the skull was filled with preservative chemicals. This is why the scientists are perplexed by the imprint in the skull; because it is strange for any brain tissue to remain. They postulate that something went awry during the mummification process. Some scientists believe that temperature could be the cause, as well as a change in pH level. Isidiro and his team stated that it must have taken an extraordinary chain of events to keep the blood vessel imprints intact for so many years. They believe that whatever happened with this mummy happened at the time of death. This may be the first time blood vessel imprints have been discovered by scientists. This is definitely not the first time however, that brain matter has been found in the skull of mummies. The infamous Ötzi the Iceman, Europe's oldest iceman, had some brain tissue preserved that was then used by scientists to find out the gruelling circumstances that led to his death. ]]>

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