Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Dino brain fossil discovered

By: Ashtun Welling

  A little over 130 million years ago, a herbivore dinosaur was roaming the area of Sussex, England. It fell backward to its death, trapped by the muds of a thick swamp, then was forgotten about. The brain was almost dismissed as another shiny brown pebble along the British coastline.
   The fossil was found in 2004 by Jamie Hiscock, an amateur fossil hunter. Dr. David Norman, a paleontologist from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Earth helped identify this is no pebble. This discovery is just absolutely amazing because preserving soft-tissue in terrain animals is rare because they decay quickly. Dr. David believes the fossil, showing similarities to the brains of a present-day crocodile and birds, was preserved due to the dinosaur dying in a swamp-like environment which mixed low levels of oxygen and acidity. Which can preserve soft tissue for long periods.

     The fossilized brain fits in a closed hand, which is rather interesting considering the large herbivorous dinosaur that it belongs to. However, it’s a possibility that the brain collapsed and the membranes were likely squashed, under gravity, which would lead to the denser volume.  Overall this is an astonishing discovery and probably the closest we'll ever get to study the mind of the past.

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