Dinosaurs were not nearly as intellectually challenged as once thought

January 5th, 2008 - 2:41 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Jan 5 (ANI): New research by paleontologists has outlined the intelligence level among the dinosaurs as ranging from slow-witted to somewhat smart, indicating that many dinosaurs were not complete airy boneheads.

According to a report in Discovery News, though the organic matter that made up dinosaur brains decayed millions of years ago, researchers are recreating the basic features of dino brains based on endocraniums, or the inside surfaces of dinosaur skulls.

Paleontologists are reevaluating their figures because traditionally it was thought that brain size in dinosaurs mirrored that of reptiles, meaning the brain occupied around 50 percent of the endocranial volume.

The marks on the inside of dino skulls, however, suggest dinosaur brains more closely matched the size of bird and mammal brains, at least in the way that the grey matter filled the endocranial cavity.

“Because it is now accepted that birds are the closest relatives to dinosaurs, it is reasonable to believe that dinosaur intelligence should be modeled on that of birds rather than reptiles,” said Rebekah Wright, a researcher in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona.
According to Ke-Qin Gao, a researcher at Peking University’s School of Earth and Space Sciences, scientists use an Encephalization Quotient, or EQ, to speculate upon the complexity, or lack thereof, of brain activity in dinosaurs.

The EQ is a ratio of brain mass to body size. When it’s used on existing creatures, it seems to provide an accurate picture of overall brain power within a species.

After analyzing their data, Gao and his team, came up with a list for Discovery showing how dinosaurs rate in terms of EQ.

A high rating correlates to behavioral complexity, whereas a low rating suggests a more simple set of behaviors.

Among the dinosaurs having a fairly decent EQ were Ornithomimids at 0.8, troodontids at 0.7, Iguanodons at 0.5, and hadrosaurids at 0.47 EQ.

At the very bottom of the EQ ratings is Diplodocus, with a meager 0.05 EQ.

The researchers were surprised to discover that many top predator dinosaurs, such as Tyrannosaurus rex and allosaurids, also had lower EQ values than iguanodons and hadrosaurids.

But, modern science is revealing that many dinosaurs did not completely lack intelligence, as their now-empty skulls suggest.

“Dinosaurs were not nearly as intellectually challenged as once thought,” said Wright. (ANI)

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