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I remember hearing recently that new research has suggested that the ancient Egyptians did not view the brain as a useless organ, and had a reason for disposing of it in the manner they did. I can't find references to this online, and am wondering if anyone on here knows about the validity or otherwise of this idea.

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I cannot give you a source but I believe that they thought the brain was there to cool the body down. So fevers were the result of the brain not working properly thus adding cold compressed would kick start it again. –  Sardathrion Nov 12 '11 at 12:18
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The ancient Egyptians did not recognize it as the hub of a person's thoughts. They believed the heart did that job rather than the brain. They wrapped the heart carefully before putting it back in the mummy's body, as they believed the person would need it to get through the Underworld to the Afterlife.

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The reason to remove the brain wasn't because it was "useless", but because it was among the first tissues to decay. From http://si.edu/encyclopedia_si/nmnh/mummies.htm

The first step in the process was the removal of all internal parts that might decay rapidly. The brain was removed by carefully inserting special hooked instruments up through the nostrils in order to pull out bits of brain tissue.

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