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Dinosaurs have a fearsome reputation for their hunting abilities but less so when it comes to their intelligence. This is partly due to the fact that many species have long been thought to have had relatively small brains, their heads full of protective tissue that supposedly left little room for gray matter. But the recent discovery of the first recorded fossilized brain tissue could help challenge that image.
The fossilized brain was found by a collector on a beach near Bexhill in Sussex, England. It preserves brain tissue of a large herbivorous dinosaur similar to Iguanodon, one of the first dinosaur species to be identified. Found among rocks laid down during the early Cretaceous Period around 133 million years ago, the fossil is an endocast, formed as layers of sediment gradually filled up the skull.
We think this level of preservation was possible because the brain tissue was effectively pickled before it was mineralized, probably after the dinosaur died in a highly acidic and low-oxygen body of water. The soft tissues were preserved by phosphate and iron minerals, and CT (computed tomography) scans show the fossil also contains sediment, as well as fragments of leaves, twigs and bone.
originally posted by: searcherfortruth
a reply to: Ghost147
For all we know that could be a big old stinky pile of poop!
It has become accepted in recent years that the fossil record can preserve labile tissues. We report here the highly detailed mineralization of soft tissues associated with a naturally occur- ring brain endocast of an iguanodontian dinosaur found in c. 133 Ma fluvial sediments of the Weal- den at Bexhill, Sussex, UK. Moulding of the braincase wall and the mineral replacement of the adjacent brain tissues by phosphates and carbonates allowed the direct examination of petrified brain tissues. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging and computed tomography (CT) scan- ning revealed preservation of the tough membranes (meninges) that enveloped and supported the brain proper. Collagen strands of the meningeal layers were preserved in collophane. The blood ves- sels, also preserved in collophane, were either lined by, or infilled with, microcrystalline siderite. The meninges were preserved in the hindbrain region and exhibit structural similarities with those of living archosaurs. Greater definition of the forebrain (cerebrum) than the hindbrain (cere- bellar and medullary regions) is consistent with the anatomical and implied behavioural complexity previously described in iguanodontian-grade ornithopods. However, we caution that the observed proximity of probable cortical layers to the braincase walls probably resulted from the settling of brain tissues against the roof of the braincase after inversion of the skull during decay and burial