The biggest animal with a tiny brain

One of the biggest dinosaurs of all existing in the world, had a very small brain. Scientists have studied the skull of a giant dinosaur, whose age is about 70 million years.

Ampelosaurus (Ampelozavr) was found in 2007 in Cuenca (Cuenca), Spain, during the construction of high-speed railway linking Madrid with Valencia. Remains found reptile attributed to dinosaurs-sauropods, characterized by a long neck, long tail and eat grass. It was the largest creation of all previously found on Earth. Moreover, Ampelosaurus (Ampelozavr) belongs to the genus titanosaur, whose body was often covered with scales.

Usually sauropod skull is fragile, so scientists were not enough data to draw conclusions about the brain dinosaurs. When scanning a skull found by computed tomography, researchers were able to create a 3D computer model of the brain ampelozavra. It was found that the dimensions do not exceed a tennis ball.

Fabien Knoll, a paleontologist at the Spanish National Museum of Natural Sciences, said: "This lizard can reach a length of 15 meters, however, his mind was not more than 8 cm"

The researchers note that in this group of animals is not a change in the size of the brain over time, such as this can be observed in many mammals and birds.

The computer model shows that ampelozavra was not just a small brain, but also the inner ear

According to researchers, there may be in favor of what the dinosaur is not well perceived the sound transmitted through the air, but it's possible he had a hearing aimed at the perception of sound transmitted through the ground.

In addition, the inner ear is responsible for balance and equilibrium. Most likely, the animal was unable to fast movements, it was big and slow herbivores.

More information about the discovery and research can be found in the journal PLOS ONE, issue of January 23, 2013.

Category: Archaeology

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