Tyrannosaur brains varied more within species than previously thought: new research – .

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Tyrannosaur brains varied more within species than previously thought: new research – .


TORONTO – About 10 million years before T. rex roamed the lands of Alberta, another tyrannosaurus, Daspletosaurus, lived there, and now Canadian researchers have an idea of ​​what its brain looked like.

Scientists in Canada and Argentina have used CT scans in an attempt to reconstruct the brain, inner ear and surrounding bones, known as the skull, of two well-preserved specimens of the nine-meter-long dinosaur.

The findings, which were published Thursday in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, clash with the prevailing belief that the brain and skull of dinosaurs varied little between dinosaurs and related species.

“Our study with the two Daspletosaurus specimens suggests otherwise,” Tetsuto Miyashita, a paleontologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature and lead author of the study, said in a press release.

Digital reconstructions of the two brains of Daspletosaurus could show that they are from different species of daspletosaurs, Miyashita added.

“We know that tyrannosaurs had relatively good sized brains for a dinosaur, and this study shows that this pattern is valid for Daspletosaurus,” he said. “In addition, based on the shapes of the brain, the structure of the ear and the cranium, we propose these two specimens represent distinct species of daspletosaurs.

According to the press release, it is not common to examine and model the skulls of several dinosaur specimens due to the hundreds of hours of labor and medical technology, such as a CT scanner, required to access the cranial box. Most brain studies use a specimen from a representative species of the group.

The specimens used for the study were both discovered and remain in Canada. One is on display at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. It was found in 1921 near the Red Deer River in Alberta. The second specimen, found in 2001, belongs to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta.

Ariana Paulina Carabajal, dinosaur skull expert in Argentina and co-author of the study at the Instituto de Investigations en Biodiversidad y Medioambient, provided detailed models of the brain, inner ear, and skull case. The researchers found that there were large bony canals that would have housed the nerves to move the eyeballs, as well as large air sacs that filled most of the bones in the skull.

“These cavities in the bones not only make the huge skull lighter, but are also related to the middle region of the ear,” Paulina Carabajal said in the press release. “The cavities probably helped amplify sound and aided the system that communicates with the left and right ears, allowing the brain to determine where a sound is coming from. “

The researchers say their findings are a good reason to study more puzzles, because while the skeletons looked quite similar, the results told a different story.

“Researchers looked at so few dinosaur brains, usually one for each species studied, that this reinforced the hypothesis that these structures do not change much within and between species,” he said. “We just didn’t look inside. enough skulls to document the variation.

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