Paleontologists have reconstructed the structure of the brain and inner ear of two giant dinosaurs that lived on the banks of rivers and ate fish.
A team of British and American paleontologists from the Universities of Southampton and Ohio have reconstructed the brain and inner ear of two British spinosaurs, ‘Baryonyx’ and ‘Ceratosuchops’, which inhabited riverbanks approximately 125 years ago. millions of years ago, in order to explain how they adapted to trap their prey underwater.
Spinosaurus are a group of theropod dinosaurs with long, crocodile-like jaws and conical teeth. Normally, they searched and chased their prey on the banks of the rivers. They also caught big fish. Their way of life was very different from that of the most well-known theropods, such as ‘Allosaurus’ and ‘Tyrannosaurus’.
To better understand the evolution of the spinosaurus brain and senses, the team scanned the oldest fossils of Baryonyx and Ceratosuchops found in County Surrey and the Isle of Wight, which contain material from the meninges. . The imprint of the brain in the skull of both specimens is well preserved, so the scientists were able to digitally reconstruct the internal soft tissues.
Analyzing the results, the researchers concluded that spinosaurs had poorly developed sense of smell and that their ears only picked up low-frequency sounds.
They were also able to clarify that these dinosaurs moved much worse on two legs and were not able to maintain balance as later theropods do.
The brain structures of ‘Baryonyx’ and ‘Ceratosuchops’ showed that the brain of these dinosaurs corresponded, to a large extent, to that of tyrannosaurs and allosaurus.
“Despite their unusual ecology, it appears that the brain and senses of these early spinosaurs held much in common with other large-bodied theropods: there is no evidence that their semi-aquatic ways of life were reflected in the way they were organized.” their brains,” concluded University of Southampton PhD student and study leader Chris Barker in a statement posted on the University of Southampton website.
One interpretation of the results suggests that spinosaurs’ theropod ancestors already possessed the brain and sensory adaptations suitable for catching fish, lacking only an unusual snout and teeth to specialize in a semi-aquatic existence.