Missing Brains Found

About 100 human brains belonging to a university collection thought lost have turned up at another campus. 

By | December 3, 2014

WIKIMEDIA, DRDAKDozens of human brains stored in a basement at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin had been missing for years. But recent media attention on the absent jars has helped resolve their whereabouts: UT San Antonio.

“They read a media report of the missing brains and they called to say: ‘We got those brains!’” Tim Schallert, the former curator of the Austin collection, told the Los Angeles Times.

The organs represent roughly half of a brain collection that had arrived at UT Austin a few decades ago from the Austin State Hospital. According to an excerpt from the book Malformed: Forgotten Brains of the Texas State Mental Hospital published in The Atlantic this week (December 2), the brains got shuffled around because the center where they were housed at UT Austin became too crowded. But in the mid-1990s, when Schallert went to move them, the jars were nowhere to be found. “I never found out exactly what happened—whether they were just given away, sold or whatever—but they just disappeared,” Schallert said in the book.

Fortunately, the mystery is solved. “I know the brains will be treated very well there,” Schallert told the Times.

UPDATE (December 5): Following an investigation by the University of Texas, it turns out that the brains had not gone to UT San Antonio, but in fact had been destroyed in 2002, the Associated Press reported.

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Avatar of: Stuart21


Posts: 14

December 4, 2014

I am not sure why, but this reminds me of one of my favorite jokes;

"Every Kiwi that migrates to Australia, raises the IQ of both countries"

Avatar of: nishii


Posts: 1

December 4, 2014

If you click on the Los Angeles Times link in the story above, the LAT article reveals that the brains were never sent to UTSA.

“A preliminary university investigation has revealed that UT environmental health and safety officials disposed of multiple brain specimens in approximately 2002 in accordance with protocols concerning biological waste,” according to a statement from the University of Texas at Austin, where the story began.

The brains, which were received in the 1980s, were destroyed because they were not suitable for research.


Avatar of: wctopp


Posts: 110

December 4, 2014

Was Delbrück among them?

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