First Fossilized Dinosaur Brain Tissue Discovered

Posted: Oct 28 2016, 3:48am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 28 2016, 5:59am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Brown Pebble Identified as First Ever Dinosaur Brain Tissue
Credit: University of Manchester
  • Brown pebble identified as first ever fossilized dinosaur brain tissue
 

The fossil found ten years ago by a hunter in Sussex has been confirmed as the first ever dinosaur brain sample

A brown pebble which may not seem to hold much value on first glance has been recognized as one of a kind. A fossil has been identified as the only dinosaur brain sample ever.

The fossil had been found ten years ago by a fossil hunter by the name of Jamie Hiscocks near Bexhill in Sussex, in 2004. The fossil has now been confirmed as a fossilized brain tissue of a dinosaur.

The fossil is of a dinosaur from the Iguanodon species as it has distinct similarities with brain matter of modern-day crocodiles and birds. Iguanodon is a class of large herbivorous dinosaur believed to have lived during the Early Cretaceous Period, which was more than 133 million years ago.

In the fossil the Meninges have been found to be preserved as mineralized 'ghosts'. Meninges are the tough tissue which surrounds the rest of the delicate brain matter. The part also consists of tiny capillaries and small parts of cortical tissues.

The discovery has been published in a Special Publication of the Geological Society of London. The publication is also dedicated to the memory of Professor Martin Brasier of the University of Oxford, who passed away in 2014. 

The discovery is of particular importance because scientists have not just come upon fossilized soft tissue, which is quite rare, but it is brain tissue. This will make understanding the evolutionary history of brain tissue a bit easier.

The researchers have stated the reason why the brain fossil has survived is because it was pickled at the time.

Shortly after the dinosaur’s death the brain had probably been 'pickled' in a highly acidic and low-oxygen body of water. Most possibly a bog or swamp caused the soft tissue to be mineralized before decaying began. 

The results of this study are reported in a Special Publication of the Geological Society of London that is published in tribute to Professor Martin Brasier of the University of Oxford, who died in 2014.

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