Scientists found neurons in the brain of a Vesuvius victim

Italian scientists found neurons in the brain, which turned into glass due to the volcanic heat.

In January this year, scientists reported on the discovery – a fragment of the brain, which turned into glass under the influence of high temperatures during the eruption of Vesuvius. The discovery was made on the territory of the archaeological park Herculaneum. The town of the same name was Pompeii’s neighbor and was also buried under the layer of volcanic ash.

Researchers from the University of Naples Frederick II, the Center for Higher Education “CEINGE – Advanced Biotechnology”, Roma Tre University, Milan University and the National Council studied this brain fragment and found neurons in it.

The coordinator of the research team, Pier Paolo Petrone, called this discovery “an extraordinary event”. “What is very rare is the holistic preservation of neural structures of the central nervous system, 2000 years ago,” he said.

Another researcher Guido Giordano emphasized that this was made possible thanks to the transformation of tissues into glass. This indicates the rapid cooling of the red-hot volcanic ash that struck Herculaneum in the early stages of the eruption.

“The process of transformation into glass caused by the eruption ‘froze’ the cellular structures of the victim’s central nervous system, keeping them intact to this day,” Petrone said.