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    NewsUproar Over Study Suggesting T-Rex Were So Smart They Would Have Been...

    Uproar Over Study Suggesting T-Rex Were So Smart They Would Have Been Able To Use Tools

    Several scientists have written on social media criticizing the research, which suggests that these dinosaurs were vastly more intelligent than previously thought.

    According to the neuroanatomist at Vanderbilt University, USA, Suzana Herculano-Houzel, the ‘Tyrannosaurus rex’ – popularly known as T-Rex – could have been as intelligent as some modern monkeys. Based on inferences made from data on modern birds and reptilesHerculano-Houzel estimated that T-Rex had more neurons in its brain than baboons, as described in a paper recently published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology.

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    Herculano-Houzel says that determining the neural composition of the brains of fossilized dinosaurs and other amniotes (reptiles, birds, and mammals) offers insight into their behavioral and cognitive abilities. In his study he estimated that the t rex it had approximately 3 billion neurons in its 343g brain; more than the number found in baboons. He could also infer that, Alioramus, another theropod dinosaur, had about a billion neurons in its 73-g brain, similar to the number of neurons in a capuchin monkey.

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    “This would make these animals not only giants, but also long-lived and endowed with flexible cognition, and thus even more magnificent predators than previously thought,” he stated in his paper.

    As it did?

    Since brain tissue rarely fossilizes, deductive methods must be used to achieve its study. He worked with the fossilized bone case of the brains of these animals to estimate, with computed tomography, the volume and mass of the brain. Finally, with data on the number of neurons in the telencephalon of extant saurops (birds, squamates, and turtles), he was able to deduce the number of neurons in a wide range of dinosaurs.

    In this way, he explained that his study invites speculation about the possibility that theropod dinosaurs like the T-Rex they had the biological ability to use tools and develop a culturesuch as modern birds and primates.

    strong opposition

    However, his bold claims have sparked scientific controversy with paleontologists, biologists, and neuroscientists questioning his methods and disagreeing with his approaches. The bold conclusions are “far-fetched” and based on some questionable interpretations of outdated data, some say.

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    Tess Gallagher, a paleobiologist at the University of Bristol, UK, received the news with great skepticism. “Intelligence itself is already a difficult thing to study, let alone study the intelligence of an extinct taxon.whose behavior we are unable to observe,” he wrote in a Tweet. “Don’t get me wrong. The T-Rex was probably smarter than we think, but able to use tools? That’s a great claim,” he continued in the same tweet thread.

    Another point of disagreement among experts is that skull size does not necessarily equate to brain volume or mass, let alone if those estimates are based on CT scans of fossilized skulls. Thus, Kai Caspar, a zoologist at the University of Duisburg-Essen, in Germany, stated in another Tweet that, ravens, despite having relatively small brains and having fewer brain neurons than baboons, outperform them in cognitive tasksbeing remarkably intelligent animals.

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    Caspar also criticizes, in the same tweet thread, that the articles cited in support of this assumption are mostly from the author herself and everything she publishes on this subject is highly abstract.. He states that one of the few empirical studies that the questioned scientist has published argues against the neuron being a good cognitive predictor.

    This Tuesday, Science published an article in which it exposed the opinion of other scientists who criticized the work of Herculano-Houzel. Stig Walsh, Senior Curator of Vertebrate Paleobiology at the National Museums of Scotland, commented, “It’s really refreshing to have a neurologist looking at paleontological data.” However, he notes that the paper contains “a large number of conclusions or suggestions based on what is essentially a single extrapolation.”

    For her part, Amy Balanoff, an evolutionary biologist at Johns Hopkins University, USA, commented that much of the data behind the estimates of brain mass used by Herculano-Houzel are several years behind the bases. of current data. She thinks the study is likely to overestimate dinosaur brain masses.



    Source: RT

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