NOV 12, 2016 09:00 AM PST

Is This the First Known Fossil of a Dinosaur Brain?

Were dinosaurs smart? We may have the first chance to find out after having found what appears to be an old fossil of a chunk of a dinosaur’s brain.
 
The fossil, which compares in size to a smartphone, was discovered on a beach in England and has been estimated to be 133 million years old. Details about it are published in a paper online that will soon make its way to the journal Earth System Evolution and Early Life.
 

The chunk of dinosaur brain fossil.

 Image Credit: Jamie Hiscocks

Experts say it came from a species known as Iguanodon, which was an herbivore that existed from both the Cretaceous and Jurassic periods. They placed the fossil into a mold of the creature’s skull and found that it fit perfectly.
 
The fossil itself reportedly captures the structure of the soft tissue of the brain, which exhibits folds and wrinkles that we attribute to the exterior of a brain in modern organisms. Finding such fossils, which capture soft tissue structures, is a rare occurrence.
 
“They’ve been replaced almost cell for cell by mineral crystals, which have taken the shape and morphology of the original structures,” said Alex Liu, a paleontologist who dealt directly with the fossil.
 
The wrinkles and folds and pits and grooves … the tubular structures that look like blood vessels — those are very difficult to explain in any other way,” Liu continued.
 
Despite the physical details of the fossil, experts also say it would be hard to estimate the species’ intelligence from the fossil alone. Nevertheless, scans of the fossil have indicated that its structure is very similar to that of birds and crocodilians.
 
This is the first time scientists have ever had the chance to study a real dinosaur brain fossil directly. This is an interesting window into the past that was life on Earth.
 


Source: National Geographic

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 10, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 10, 2018
Spiders May Use Electric Fields to Go 'Ballooning'
Spiders are known for having eight legs, but as it seems, these arthropods can sometimes fly using a technique known to the scientific community as ‘...
JUL 25, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 25, 2018
Do Lizards Respond to Hurricanes With Rapid Natural Selection?
Do hurricanes induce rapid natural selection in tropical lizard populations? That's the latest idea that Harvard University researchers are bearing in mind...
AUG 06, 2018
Plants & Animals
AUG 06, 2018
These Are Some of the Most Venomous Animals on Earth
Venomous animal encounters can be frightening experiences, but some animals are more venomous than others. Some of the most fearsome animals in this depart...
AUG 24, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
AUG 24, 2018
Bumblebees Under Threat From Inbreeding and Disease
Agriculture and habitat loss have put huge pressures on bee populations. Those aren't the only problems bees are facing....
AUG 27, 2018
Videos
AUG 27, 2018
Bizarre Diets of Some Animals
Some animals have bizarre diets that are not usually thought of. For example, some species of crocodiles eat a huge range of fruit, nuts, seeds and other p...
SEP 11, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 11, 2018
21 'New to Science' Parasitoid Wasps Described in Study
Those who observe nature for a living are bound to happen upon captivating discoveries. For a team of North American researchers, that apparently meant ide...
Loading Comments...