A Dinosaur's Brain


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Many people would think that because dinosaurs were gigantic they would have big brains but research these days show the opposite.

Scientists discovered that the largest dinosaur called Ampelosaurus, 70 million years old and found in 2007 from Spain, had the size of a tennis ball for a brain. Ampelosaurus are herbivores that have both long necks and tails and "armor like scales" all over their body. Its body is 15 meters long and the brain is only 3 inches big. In the CT Scan they also found a "small inner ear". The ear was in charge of their balance and the dinosaur probably could not hear very well. So instead it might have heard through vibrations from the ground. Scientists also believe that the dinosaur made slow movements because of the inner ear being small compared to the ratio of the dinosaur's body ("Biggest").

            Scientists are able to tell the features of a dinosaur brain by seeing the imprints of what their brain left on the skull. These imprints help scientists to determine the size and shape of the brain. They have determined six parts of the brain that was for "complex behavior such as processing visual information and learning and making sounds". Erich Jarvis initiated the study of the brains of both alligators and birds at Duke University. Some dinosaurs evolved from alligators while birds had evolved from dinosaurs. So Jarvis concludes that dinosaur brains range between an alligator and a bird. He put both an alligator and a bird in separate quiet rooms where he played "alligator grunts" to the alligator and "bird songs" to the bird. Then he quickly removed their brains to find what genes were activated in the brain. He found that both had vocal learning skills so he concludes that dinosaurs would also have this capability of learning vocal skills. Both an alligator and a bird have big cortexes and he relates this as the dinosaurs to have a large cortex too, meaning they "were capable of pretty sophisticated behaviors" ("Scientists"). Scientists are still learning about the brains of dinosaurs but it's hard to experiment when brain findings are extremely rare to none as well as to find a perfect brain that has been preserved through fossils.

miller_mosasaur.jpg

dinosaurs-wallpaper-4_1_.jpgbirds.jpg








So in general huge, large dinosaurs from the past had very small brains compared to their body but these days species on the planet have bigger brains compared to their smaller body. So why did evolution do this? Many scientists are still contemplating this question too. But what are your thoughts?


Works Cited:
       "Biggest Dinosaurs Had Brains the Size of Tennis Balls." LiveScience. 21 Nov. 2013 <http://www.livescience.com/26539-giant-sauropods-small-brains.html>.

 "Scientists Create Detailed Map of Dinosaur Brian." theguardian. 21 Nov. 2013 <http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/nov/13/scientists-map-dinosaur-brain-tyrannosaurus-rex>.

Photo of alligator before dinosaurs:<http://www.search4dinosaurs.com/miller_mosasaur.jpg>. 

Photo of dinosaurs: <http://img.naij.com/n/04/0/dinosaurs-wallpaper-4_1_.jpg>.

Photo of birds: <http://hometown-pasadena.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/birds.jpg>.

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