Tag Archive: brain

‘Stone’ age discovery! Fossilised pebble identified as dinosaur brain

Leave a Comment
INCREDIBLE: The fossil is most likely from a species closely related to Iguanodon, a large herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Early Cretaceous Period

INCREDIBLE: The fossil is most likely from a species closely related to Iguanodon, a large herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Early Cretaceous Period

An unassuming brown pebble, found more than a decade ago by a fossil hunter in Sussex, has been confirmed by researchers from The University of Manchester and the University of Cambridge as the first example of fossilised brain tissue from a dinosaur.

The fossil is most likely from a species closely related to Iguanodon - a large herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Early Cretaceous Period about 133 million years ago – and displays distinct similarities to the brains of modern-day crocodiles and birds.

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.

Finding fossilised soft tissue, especially brain tissue, is very rare, which makes understanding the evolutionary history of such tissue difficult.

According to the researchers, the reason this particular piece of brain tissue has been so well-preserved is that the dinosaur’s brain was essentially ‘pickled’ in a highly acidic and low-oxygen body of water – similar to a bog or swamp – shortly after its death. This allowed the soft tissues to become mineralised before they decayed away completely, so that they could be preserved.

The researchers used Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) techniques in order to identify the tough membranesthat surrounded the brain itself, as well as strands of collagen and blood vessels.

Structures that could represent tissues from the brain cortex also appear to be present. The structure of the fossilised brain showed similarities with the brains of modern-day descendants of dinosaurs, namely birds and crocodiles.

In typical reptiles, the brain has the shape of a sausage, surrounded by a dense region of blood vessels and thin-walled vascular chambers that serve as a blood drainage system. The brain itself only takes up about half of the space within the cranial cavity.

In contrast, the tissue in the fossilised brain appears to have been pressed directly against the skull, raising the possibility that some dinosaurs had large brains.

However, the researchers warned against drawing conclusions about dinosaur intelligence, as it is most likely that the brain of this dinosaur collapsed and became pressed against the bony roof of the cavity as it decayed.

Share this:
Share

Mini Mensa mastermind: Primary school pupil’s Einstein brain

Leave a Comment
MENSA MEMBER: Mensa is open to people of all ages whose measured IQ is in the top two per cent of the population

MENSA MEMBER: Mensa is open to people of all ages whose measured IQ is in the top two per cent of the population

A 10-year-old child genius from Manchester, who recently recorded a higher IQ score than Albert Einstein, has become one of the city’s youngest members of the intellectual organisation – Mensa.

Nishi Uggalle, from Audenshaw in Tameside, scored a perfect 162 out of 162 in her official intelligence test - known as the Cattell III B score.

Open to children from the age of ten-and-a-half-years-old, young Nishi was eager to ‘have a go’ at the exam after being asked on a number of occasions about how smart she actually was.

Her father, Neelanga, subsequently arranged for the test as soon as his daughter reached the minimum age and was delighted to see her produce a perfect score.

“From just six-months-old, we knew that she was very special,” he said. “She was able to count up to 20, do the full alphabet and say a sentence from memory when she was just 15 months so we have always known she was very intelligent.”

He added: “Her success in her Mensa test still came as a surprise though. We knew for a long time that she was very gifted, so when she actually went for the test we had hoped she would do well.

“I maybe expected her to make around the 145 mark but it was a big shock to us when I saw 162 out of 162.”

As well as scoring 100 per cent on her first test, Nishi then scored 142 on her second, the Culture Fare Scale, ensuring she was placed in the top one per cent in the country in terms of IQ.

The Withington Girls’ School pupil is one of the youngest Mensa members in the Manchester, with two children aged 10 or under also part of the society.

She lives with her parents Neelanga and Shiromi, who arrived in the UK from Sri Lanka in 2001.

CHILD GENIUS: Ten-year-old Nishi Uggalle became the latest Mensa member after registering a higher IQ than Einstein

CHILD GENIUS: Ten-year-old Nishi Uggalle became the latest Mensa member after registering a higher IQ than Einstein

Neelanga said: “When I tell my friends about Nishi and Mensa, many say they are not that surprised because I was quite good at school too.

“The difference is, I have a lot of general knowledge whereas Mensa is more mentally challenging. It’s a different kind of clever.”

John Stevenage, chief executive of British Mensa, explained what it meant for Nishi to achieve membership.

He said: “I hope she will make full use of her membership to meet new, like-minded people and challenge herself.

“Joining Mensa opens the door to an international network of more than 100,000 people and many members make friends for life amongst fellow Mensans.”

There are approximately 110,000 Mensa members worldwide and 20,000 in the UK and Ireland.

Share this:
Share