First Fossilized Dinosaur Brain Proven By University Of Cambridge And University Of Western AustraliaBy Emily Marks
The first-ever fossilized dinosaur brain was found in England. However, it wasn't only until recently that it was proven to be legit.
Quartz reported that Jamie Hiscock, an amateur fossil hunter, found the small, brown thing in Bexhill, Sussex in 2004. He immediately knew, though, that it was not an ordinary rock.
"I noticed there was something odd about the preservation," he said. "It wasn't until years later that its true significance came to be realized."
Hiscock brought the sample to paleobiologist Martin Brasier at the University of Oxford. On Oct. 27 this year, a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Western Australia revealed in their study that Hiscock had actually found the first sample of a preserved dinosaur brain.
It is believed to be an Iguanodon, a massive 30-foot dinosaur which roamed the Earth about 133 million years ago. Hiscock and his brother also found fossilized bits of the said dinosaur during their explorations.
Martin Smith, a paleontologist at the University of Durham in the U.K., noted that the type of preservation of the brain tissue was "unbelievably unlikely." Yet, here it was.
According to Eurekalert, the piece of brain tissue was so well-preserved that it has basically been "pickled" in a highly acidic and low-oxygen body of water. There are speculations that the dinosaur may have fallen into a bog or swamp shortly after its death.
"What we think happened is that this particular dinosaur died in or near a body of water, and its head ended up partially buried in the sediment at the bottom," Dr. David Norman from the University of Cambridge said. "Since the water had little oxygen and was very acidic, the soft tissues of the brain were likely preserved and cast before the rest of its body was buried in the sediment."
The researchers used scanning electron (SEM) techniques to identify the tough membranes or meninges. They also studied the strands of collagen and blood vessels.