Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Glass Lazarus? Brain cells from a Vesuvius victim

VESUVIUS WATCH: Brain Cells of Vesuvius Victim That Turned into Glass Found Intact 2,000 Years After Volcanic Eruption (News18/MSN).

Back in February I noted the story that archaeologists had recovered some vitrified brain material from one of the victions of the eruption of Vesuvius in Pompeii. At the time I commented:
Perhaps I watch too much SciFi (well, probably), but this story made me think of Dennis Potter's last series, Cold Lazarus. I realize that Daniel Feeld's brain was frozen, not vitrified. Vitrified brain is not going to have any structure left in it. But the article does say that the brain glass contains chemical traces. Who knows what information about first-century Roman brain composition the data-recovery technology of 2368 might recover from it?
It looks like I was too pessimistic. The current report is that actual brain cells are preserved in the brain glass of the unfortunate victim, as well as nerve cells from his spine. The report also holds out some hope that protein may be recovered from the glass.

We are still very far from Daniel Feeld's supercooled resurrection. But we are closer than I thought.

For past posts on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and related matters, start here and follow the many links.

Cross-file under Technology Watch and The Singularity is Near.

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