PhysOrg goes *inside* the skull to figure out how – and how quickly – a dinosaur’s brain developed:
Stephan Lautenschlager from Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, together with Tom Hübner from the Niedersächsische Landesmuseum in Hannover, Germany, picked the brains of 150 million year old dinosaurs.
The two palaeontologists studied different fossils of the Jurassic dinosaur Dysalotosaurus lettowvorbecki: a very young (juvenile) individual of approximately three years of age and a fully grown specimen of more than 12 years of age.
Stephan Lautenschlager, lead author of the paper, said: “The two different growth stages of Dysalotosaurus provided a unique opportunity to study their brain, and how it developed during the growth of the animal.”
By looking at the brain and inner ear anatomy, the two researchers found that the brain of Dysalotosaurus underwent considerable changes during growth – most likely as a response to environmental and metabolic requirements. However, important parts responsible for the sense of hearing and cognitive processes were already well developed in the young individual.
Stephan Lautenschlager said: “Our study shows that the brain was already well-developed in the young dinosaurs and adapted perfectly to interact with their environment and other individuals.”