Feathered dinosaurs had ‘flight-ready’ brains

Feathered dinosaursSeveral ancient dinosaurs evolved the brainpower needed for flight long before they could take to the skies, scientists say.

Non-avian dinosaurs were found to have “bird brains”, larger than that of Archaeopteryx, a 150 million-year-old bird-like dinosaur.

Once regarded as a unique transition between dinosaurs and birds, scientists say Archaeopteryx has now lost its pivotal place.

A recent discovery in China which unveiled the earliest creature yet discovered on the evolutionary line to birds, also placed Archaeopteryx in less of a transitional evolutionary place.

Bird brains tend to be more enlarged compared to their body size than reptiles, vital for providing the vision and coordination needed for flight.

Scientists using high-resolution CT scans have now found that these “hyper-inflated” brains were present in many ancient dinosaurs, and had the neurological hardwiring needed to take to the skies.

This included several bird-like oviraptorosaurs and the troodontids Zanabazar junior, which had larger brains relative to body size than that of Archaeopteryx.

source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23514985





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