'You have to remember that a worm, with very few exceptions, is not a human being'

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It's an embarrassing situation that's happened to most students after too much snakebite and black. One minute you're in the pub with mates, the next you find yourself idiotically clutching onto a stolen traffic cone or, you know ... a jar of brains.

At least that's what professors at the University of Texas long assumed had happened to a large amount of missing cranial matter.

The university put the missing 60 jars of brain down to more than a decade's worth of elaborate student "beer trophy" theft.

Fellow professor and co-curator Lawrence Cormack had said it was "possible word got around among undergraduates and people started swiping them for living rooms or Halloween pranks".

However, on Wednesday the university discovered that environmental workers had in fact disposed of the grey matter 12 years ago after faculty members said they weren't in good enough condition for research or teaching.

"It may have been an urban legend that developed over the years," university spokesman Gary Susswein said Wednesday. He also said the school was still investigating whether any of the brains were shared with other institutions.

To be fair, though, it's not such a preposterous assumption to make. For example, the 18th century utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham had his body stuffed and bequeathed to University College London so that he could continue to be an inspiration in death.

However, Bentham's head has was known to have been stolen by students from Kings College, and it's still on display today. ®

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