Initial testing showed the specimen to be about 8 thousand years old, but a bone specialist will be needed to determine if it belonged to an animal or a child. If tests confirm their initial identification of the skull is in fact human, that means they’ve located some of the oldest cerebral remains known to man.
Having access to such a find could lead to all sorts of discoveries, including the individual’s cause of death. Scientists could also gain great insights into what the health and living conditions were like in the Stone Age.
In general, the odds of finding remaining cerebral tissue in a skull that old are quite slim. Brain matter is rich in enzymes that accelerate decomposition. Under ideal conditions, the degrading process can be slowed significantly and there are a few cases in which a great deal of preservation has occurred.
The dig has been going on for a couple of months and has produced a great number of bones believed to be the same age as the skull.