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FILE - In this April 15, 2014 file photo, a cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex discovered in Montana greets visitors as they enter the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington. Paleontologists with Seattle's Burke Museum have unearthed the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex that lived more than 66 million years ago, including a rare nearly complete 4-foot long skull, which was unloaded at the Burke Museum Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. The skull excavated in Montana in 2016 is not the same as the one pictured. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Scientists have found the first fossilized dinosaur brain


Fossilised dinosaur brains

It may look like a strange lump, but this "unassuming brown pebble" found on a Sussex, England, beach in 2004 actually contains the first preserved dinosaur brain in history. 

Dr. David Norman, a British palaeontologist from the University of Cambridge, was part of team of researchers who analyzed the fossil found by Jamie Hiscocks, according to CNN

Hiscocks and his brother thought the fossil was an endocast and ended up asking Oxford paleobiologist Martin Brasier what he thought, according to National Geographic

"Martin knew immediately we had something special here, so I agreed to loan the specimen to him," Hiscocks wrote in an email to National Geographic. 

Researchers found that the 133-million-year-old fossil belongs to a species similar to iguanodon, which was a large herbivorous dinosaur.

They believe the dinosaur's brain tissue was well preserved because it was essentially "'pickled' in a highly acidic and low-oxygen body of water." 

"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," Norman said in a statement. 

"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."

Researchers explained that the brain shows some similarities with birds and crocodiles.

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