First known fossilized dinosaur brain unearthed, scientists claim | Science News


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First known fossilized dinosaur brain unearthed, scientists claim

Fall into swamp probably helped preserve tissue

9:57am, October 31, 2016
Fossil brain

DINO BRAINS  A fossilized chunk of bone and brain belonged to an herbivorous dinosaur that lived roughly 133-million-years ago. A British two-pence coin, about the size of a U.S. quarter, is shown for size.

SALT LAKE CITY — Dinosaur smarts may be a mystery, but their brains, at least, are now more concrete.

A chunk of petrified brain tissue discovered in a tidal pool in southern England is the first reported from a dinosaur, researchers claim.

The roughly 133-million-year-old fossil preserves the brain’s wrinkled topology, said paleontologist David Norman, who presented the find October 27 at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

“There are pits and creases and folds,” said Norman, of the University of Cambridge. “It’s a little bit like your bed when you wake up in the morning — somewhat crinkled and folded.”

The fossil, a roughly palm-sized rock, includes bits of bone and the tough outer layers of the brain. A microscopic analysis revealed the brain’s plumbing: Tiny, branching tubes —

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