World's first dinosaur brain fossil unearthed
October 29, 2016 | 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
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