Friday, October 28, 2016

Get a Brain, Moranodon!

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I am enamored of dinosaurs. I never quite grew out of that dinosaur mania that all young children gain and some of us never lose. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to hear the news that a probable fossil of a dinosaur brain was recently discovered. The fossil, thought to be that of an ornithischian dinosaur related to Iquanodon, appears to be similar to the brains of crocodilians and birds, the closest living relatives of the dinosaurs:

One seemingly odd thing about the dinosaurs is that modern birds are descended from the saurischian, or 'lizard-hipped' dinosaurs rather than the ornithischian or 'bird-hipped' dinosaurs. The bird hip of the ornithischians is thought to have a 'swept back' pubis in order to accommodate big intestines in order to cope with a vegetable diet. The maniraptoran dinosaurs, including the birds, also have backwards pointing pubic bones... if I recall correctly, this is thought to be an adaptation to improve balance.

Modern birds aren't that closely related to the Iquanodon-like dinosaur which had its brain structure preserved, so extrapolating intelligence for this dinosaur is a risky enterprise. That being said, certain birds exhibit a remarkable degree of intelligence. Meanwhile, there is plenty of evidence that dinosaurs cared for their young (in one case of tragic character assassination, Oviraptor was dubbed an 'egg thief' because a specimen was found sitting on its own nest). I personally have no doubt that dinosaurs were not the stupid, ungainly creatures that mammal supremacists deemed them to be through much of the 20th century. The dinosaurs evolved into diverse forms and held their own for hundreds of millions of years and still remain in the form of birds, they had to have something going for them to be so successful for so long.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

B^4, I salute your stand with the dinosaurs.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

And I salute you for feeding them with delicious suet mix, Thunder.