Remarkably, this is a photograph of what was once an actual adult human brain — but without the characteristic ridges and folds. But because the patient's medical records were lost, we may never know what life was like for this person.
Image credit: Adam Voorhes.
Here's what we do know. The person to whom this extraordinary brain belonged to was a resident of what is now North Texas State Hospital, a mental health facility. He or she died there in 1970. As New Scientist reports, the jar containing the brain is labelled with a reference number, but the microfilm containing the patient's medical records have been lost.
Scientists have seen this sort of thing before — but not to such an extreme degree. It's a condition known as agyria, or sometimes lissencephaly, in which the brain lacks the gyri and sulci, the normal ridges and folds that make up the cerebral cortex.