(ORDO NEWS) — Paleontologists from the universities of German Greifswald and French Friborg, using computed tomography, reconstructed the internal structure of the spinosaurus skull and found out which prey he preferred to hunt.
Spinosaurs – large predatory dinosaurs – lived in the Cretaceous period mainly in the Southern Hemisphere. However, unlike their other predatory relatives, spinosaurs had a specific, short and elongated skull, so scientists believe that they mainly fed on small animals and fish. German and French paleontologists have confirmed this assumption.
The authors of the study studied one of the few well-preserved spinosaurus skulls about 115 million years old from Brazil. To reconstruct the internal structures of the skull – the subshell space of the brain and the inner ear – the scientists used a high-resolution CT scanner, and as a result they were able to restore the shape of the brain and surrounding tissues, as well as the channels of the inner ear, which are responsible for maintaining the balance of the body.
It turned out that the shape of the brain of a spinosaurus is generally similar to the shape of the brain of other predatory dinosaurs. However, differences were found in the structure of the inner ear and the associated part of the cerebellum – the flocculus. In modern modern animals, the floccule is involved in the vestibulo-ocular reflex and plays an important role in fixing the eyes during movement – in the spinosaurus, it turned out to be more developed than in other predatory lizards.
Based on the characteristics of the floccule, as well as the structure of the inner ear of the spinosaurus, the authors of the study concluded that this dinosaur could make quick and accurate head movements without losing sight of its potential prey. In addition, the spinosaurus had a long, downward muzzle, and such a structure significantly improved its field of vision. All these features gave an advantage precisely when hunting for small prey, including fish.
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