You know the old saying, “it isn’t brain surgery”, meaning that what you are doing is not as hard or delicate as complicated brain surgery. We all stand in awe of brain surgeons and for some reason most people think that they are special. Not me, I think that everyone is special in their own way. (Well, to really be truthful, there are a couple of people I have met along the way that were far from being special in any aspect of the word’s meaning.)
Last night I read something that really surprised me. It was only a very short article in “Discover”, but it packed a wallop. It had a picture of a 4400 year old human skull that had an “L” shaped hole cut in it. Well, I just figured that some other guy or gal some 4400 years ago just whopped this guy over the head with an “L” shaped tool. Then I got thinking, “Hey dummy, that hole looks way to perfect to have been made by a club or spear and the shape was just too complicated and precise.” Therefore, I read the article.
This skull, along with four others, was found at Ikiztepe, Turkey, a small settlement near the Black Sea occupied from 3200 to 1700 B.C. The article started out like this: “You might shudder at the mere thought of ancient brain surgery, but recent studies of the practice at Bronze Age sites in Turkey suggest that early neurosurgeons were surprisingly precise and that a majority of their of their patients may have survived.”
How did they know that some survived? Well, they found evidence of new bone growth around the incision. They also unearthed a pair of razor-sharp volcanic glass blades that were believe to have been used to make the careful cuts. OK, do you have the shivers yet?
I wonder if they had a good method of deadening the pain, other than a rubber hammer (grin). Actually, other than the cut through the scalp, there is no pain felt inside the brain. I knew a lady who had brain surgery and was awake though out the whole process. They only gave her a local to deaden the scalp for the initial incision. She said she could hear them drilling and cutting through the skull. She was a brave lady, for sure.
Since many survived the brain surgeries 4000 years ago, I wonder how far we have progressed with the procedure. I don’t think that we have done all that well in all that time. Back then the scientists believe that the surgery was done to treat hemorrhages, brain cancer, head trauma, or mental illness. Sounds like the same thing modern day surgeons do. Wouldn’t you think that after all that time we would have come up with a better way?
This article really caught me by surprise. I had no idea that brain surgery was done that far back in time. We sure do under estimate the abilities and intelligence of our ancestors!!