Dino Ampelosaur Has Super Teeny Tiny Brain


Illustration: O. Sanisidro/CSIC

The larger they are, the smaller their brains - that seems to be the motto of the dinosaur Ampelosaur. Using 3D reconstruction of fossilized remains of its skull, scientists from Spain's National Museum of Natural Sciences (CSIC) discovered that the dino's brain is only about 3 inches long.

The ampelosaur pertains to the sauropod group, large-sized dinosaurs that settled widely during the Mesozoic Era (which began 253 million years ago and ended 66 million years ago). More precisely, it is a titanosaur, a group of plant eating animals that were dominant during the last half of the Cretaceous (last period of the Mesozoic).

However, despite being the fruit of a long evolution, the brain of the ampelosaur does not show any notable development. Knoll explains: "This saurian may have reached 15 m in length; nonetheless its brain was not in excess of 8 cm". According to the CSIC researcher: "Increase in brain size was not favored in the course of sauropod evolution".

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When I was young, you'd read some "factoid" occasionally that some dinosaurs were so dumb they had to have another brain in their tale. I never really believed it. Any truth to that?
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