As the blockbuster Jurassic Park/World franchise taught us–despite being extinct for more than 60 million years–“Life finds a way”, and there is always more to learn about dinosaurs.
Scientists from the University of Bristol have digitally reconstructed the brain of a Thecodontosaurus, also known as the Bristol dinosaur.
Scientists were shocked to learn that their preconceived notions about this particular dinosaur were incorrect.
After looking at 3D scans of the well-preserved dinosaur’s brain cavity, the researchers concluded that their assumptions were wrong about the dog-sized dinosaur walking on all fours and feeding only on plants.
Based on the size and shape of the brain, the researchers hypothesize that the dinosaur now walked on two legs and sometimes ate meat.
The research was published Monday in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.
Leading up to the findings, the scientists admitted that this is a great example of how advancements in technology have helped them to have a new understanding of dinosaurs.
Lead author Antonio Ballell explained in a press release: “Our analysis of Thecodontosaurus’ brain uncovered many fascinating features, some of which were quite surprising…Whereas its later relatives moved around ponderously on all fours, our findings suggest this species may have walked on two legs and been occasionally carnivorous.”
Because of the new technology, they were able to scan the brain cavity without cracking open the skull, which was the traditional way to get a closer look at the brain cavity.
Ballell elaborated on the benefits of using the brain scanning technology, stating: “Even though the actual brain is long gone, the software allows us to recreate brain and inner ear shape via the dimensions of the cavities left behind…The braincase of Thecodontosaurus is beautifully preserved, so we compared it to other dinosaurs, identifying common features and some that are specific to Thecodontosaurus.”
Let’s hope that this next step in dinosaur research eventually leads to an actual Jurassic Park. As someone who’s wanted to go to Jurassic Park since I was a kid, I don’t mind waiting a few more years for them to open a new park.
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