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.
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.
Old Kingdom medical texts speak of the brain having hemispheres and being enclosed in a membrane; the ancient Egyptians also performed (successful) brain surgery
The brain makes mucous (so there was no need to preserve it on the basis of that function) the HEART is the seat of life, thinking, being...
I refer you to this Mummification Processes in relation to the Human Brain and Heart
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.