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Palaeontology

World's first dinosaur brain fossil unearthed

By T.K. Randall
October 29, 2016 · Comment icon 4 comments

The brain fossil is thought to belong to a relative of Iguanodon. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Alina Zienowicz
The discovery was made by fossil hunter Jamie Hiscocks who found the specimen on a beach near London.
The first known fossilized dinosaur brain tissue ever discovered, the unassuming brown rock dates back 133 million years and is believed to be from a herbivorous dinosaur related to Iguanodon.

The fossil is an endocast - a casting of the interior of the skull cavity where the brain is situated - but unlike most dinosaur endocasts this one also contains small pieces of fossilized brain tissue.
A closer examination of the specimen even shows evidence of tiny veins as well as subtle ripples in the meninges (the tissue that covers the brain) in which an outline of the cortex layer may be found.

"It looks like a very exceptional specimen, for sure," said paleontologist Lawrence Witmer from Ohio University. "Soft tissue preservation of any kind gets us excited, and for those of us looking at the brain, potentially getting a glimpse into what the brain is like blows us away."



Source: National Geographic | Comments (4)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Zenith 8 years ago
Exciting find for paleontologists. Interesting article Clair, thanks.
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
Yes, Clair, very interesting,  I skimmed the article kink and didn't see a mention of the estimated size of the brain.  The coin in the picture shows the size of the whole fossil.  Is the fossil all mineralized dino brain?  I'm not sure from the article.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Clair 8 years ago
Yes apparently it is. The following article contains a short video about the find, including a brief explanation using a life-size model of the dinosaur's head which provides scale for the actual brain size. Engadget. It really is an incredible find, and the odds of finding another like it are slim next to none.  
Comment icon #4 Posted by South Alabam 8 years ago
It is amazing to watch life change and adapt over the eons. DNA is something remarkable.


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