Researchers have identified the first known example of fossilized brain tissue in a dinosaur from Sussex. The tissues resemble those seen in modern crocodiles and birds.
An unassuming brown pebble, found more than a decade ago by a fossil hunter in Sussex, has been confirmed as the first example of fossilized brain tissue from a dinosaur.
The fossil, most likely from a species closely related to Iguanodon, displays distinct similarities to the brains of modern-day crocodiles and birds. Meninges — the tough tissues surrounding the actual brain — as well as tiny capillaries and portions of adjacent cortical tissues have been preserved as mineralized 'ghosts'.
Modern restoration showing Iguanodon in quadrupedal pose. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
The results are reported in a Special Publication of the Geological Society of London, published in tribute to Professor Martin Brasier of the University of Oxford, who died in 2014. Brasier and Dr. David Norman from the University of Cambridge coordinated the research into this particular fossil during the years prior to Brasier's untimely death in a road traffic accident.
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