Paleontologists are extremely excited about their latest discovery. They have found the first fossilized dinosaur brain in the world. The unique relic was discovered in Sussex, England, by Jamie Hiscock, a British fossil enthusiast.
The fossil was found more than ten years ago, back in 2004. Jamie Hiscock took the fossil to specialists at the University of Oxford, but its true nature was not revealed then. However, it was only recently that the relic had been identified as a fossilized dinosaur brain, the only fossil of its’ kind in the world.
A group of specialists from the University of Western Australia and the University of Cambridge teamed up and made the discovery. According to the analyses of the researchers, the fossilized dinosaur brain is at least one hundred thirty million years old. It belongs to an Iguanodon, which is a plant-eating dinosaur species. The animal must have been about thirty feet tall, the specialists added.
Both researchers who were involved in the project and those who were not a part of it are highly impressed by the discovery. They explain that it is remarkable how the brain tissue of the extinct animal was preserved and got to be present in our times.
The specialists in charge of the study think that the brain tissue was preserved thanks to acids and lack of oxygen. They explain that the technique is quite similar to that of conserving pickles. However, they also state that the reaction of acid and oxygen deprivation is the same on any organic material, not only vegetables.
The way in which the fossilized dinosaur brain was preserved provides the scientists with some clues on how the animal must have died. They assume that its carcass laid near some body of water with properties that allowed the decomposition of the body and the preservation of the brain.
The fossilized dinosaur brain shows details that experts never thought they could get the chance to see. They could observe where the blood vessels in the brain were. The specialists noted that they were close to the surface and also were extremely thin.
The researchers used special microscopes to analyze the fossilized tissue. They concluded that the dinosaurs had similar brain structures to those of contemporary reptiles. However, the fossil doesn’t show the entire organ of the animal, and the researchers can’t determine the cognitive capacity of the Iguanodon.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia