tyrannosaurus rexBeing the king of ecosystems some 70 million years ago, it can certainly be feared. Huge size, impressive maneuverability and jaws full of rows of sharp teeth. And these are just some of the elements that enable the dinosaur to hunt its prey.
I am still thinking t-rex – We have in mind the image of a fast and bloodthirsty predator that even a five-year-old can outsmart. However, scientists from Vanderbilt University claim that this dinosaur did not have to occupy the intellectual lowlands. On the contrary: the number of neurons in his brain may have been as high as in modern primates.
Based on this assumption, the researchers suggested that the animal’s intellectual level could allow it to create tools or display social behaviour. We can read about the details of the case on the pages Journal of Comparative Neuroscience. According to the publication, the study’s author, Susana Herculano Hozel, attempted to understand the cognitive abilities of dinosaurs such as t-rex.
The T. rex didn’t have to be a fast, agile, and…a dumb animal
Of course, soft tissues can’t survive tens of millions of years in the proper condition, so scientists had to take some shortcuts. To that end, they conducted analyzes of modern sauropods: birds, turtles, and crustaceans. It turned out, among other things, that the brains of birds – despite their small size – contain a fairly large number of neurons. Their number was impressive even in comparison with primates, which are one of the most intelligent inhabitants of the Earth.
If Herculano-Houzel’s predictions come true, dinosaurs could have had a brain mass comparable to birds, dating back to before the asteroid impact in what is now Yucatan. By sizing the ostrich’s brain, for example, scientists can draw some conclusions about the same organ in Tyrannosaurus rex.
The next step in the research was to calculate the number of neurons the theropods might have, using the number and mass of brains in the pinnipeds. What was the end result? t-rex His brain weighed 343 grams and had 3,289,000,000 neurons. By contrast, 2,875,000,000 were found in baboons. And although these are primarily the results of conjecture and theoretical considerations, the perspective in which tyrannosaurs were distinguished by intelligence is at least interesting.
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