facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

First detailed map of dinosaur brains suggests complex behaviors

Nov. 14, 2013 at 4:28 PM   |   Comments

| License Photo
DURHAM, N.C., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say a detailed map of a dinosaur brain suggests faculties for complex behavior, and possibly the ability to make sounds to communicate.

Soft tissues like brain matter are not preserved in fossils, but faint impressions left on the insides of fossilized skulls can yield "endocasts" giving clues of the size and shape of the outermost brain parts, they said.

To recreate a dinosaur brain, the researchers analyzed the brains of alligators -- which came from a lineage that predated many dinosaurs -- and those of birds, which evolved after the dinosaurs.

The dinosaur brain should have evolved to be somewhere in between, Duke University researcher Erich Jarvis said.

"In the popular mind, dinosaurs may be underrated in the complexity of their behavior," Jarvis told a meeting of the Society of Neuroscience in San Diego this week.

The analysis of alligator and bird brains allowed Jarvis and Duke colleague Chun-Chun Chen to piece together the innermost regions of the dinosaur brain, including six areas that are specialized for complex behavior such as processing visual information and learning and making sounds.

"It suggests that the dinosaur brain had the capacity for complex sensory motor processing, just like we see in birds and alligators," Jarvis said.

It also suggest dinosaurs had sufficient brain complexity to communicate with sounds, Jarvis said, although he acknowledged there is currently no evidence of a dinosaur that did this.

"But all the brain subdivisions to support vocal learning are there, so I'd argue the capacity to evolve vocal learning did exist in dinosaurs," he said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
6,000-year-old temple discovered in prehistoric Ukraine settlement 6,000-year-old temple discovered in prehistoric Ukraine settlement
2
NASA orbiter beams back images of Siding Spring comet NASA orbiter beams back images of Siding Spring comet
3
An ancient tsunami wrecked Hawaii; it could happen again An ancient tsunami wrecked Hawaii; it could happen again
4
DC drone hobbyists in limbo over flying locations DC drone hobbyists in limbo over flying locations
5
Study: Fish just wanna have fun Study: Fish just wanna have fun
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback