The ancestors of the “modern” birds are largely extinct due to the unique shape of the dinosaurs’ brains. The scientists made this decision University of Texas at Austin (USA), studied the fossil of a bird called Ichthyornis and discovered it not so long ago.
It is about 70 million years old and is almost a complete skull – a rare phenomenon, but this is what allowed the experts to make their discovery. The results of the study were published in the July 30 issue of the journal Scientific progress (See pictures, Scroll to the end).
“Living birds have more complex brains than any other animal except mammals. This new fossil allows us to test the notion that the brain was an instrument in their survival,” said lead author Christopher Torres.
The fossil became a new specimen of a bird called Ichthyornis – which, by the end of the Cretaceous, now lived within Kansas (USA), but died along with other dinosaurs. Scientists have pointed out the same characteristics found in avian and non-avian dinosaurs. We were talking about a jaw full of teeth, while it was with a flag.
The researchers used a bird’s skull as a shape to create a 3D copy of the brain (endocrine) using CT imaging data. They went on to compare the endocast created for the distant relatives of living birds and dinosaurs.
During the study, experts found that Ichthyornis’ brains actually resembled those of non-avian dinosaurs more than “modern” birds. The latter have more cerebral hemispheres than their ancestors (people there show more cognitive functions – emotions, thoughts, speech). Scientists have suggested that such activities may be related to the survival of Ichthyornis after the extinction of the dinosaurs.