May 19, 2024

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We may have been wrong about the T.Rex again, says new study: ScienceAlert

We may have been wrong about the T.Rex again, says new study: ScienceAlert

Dim drug or smart muscle? end of discussion T-Rex The intelligence continues, with new research leaning towards the original theory that these fearsome giants were not all that intelligent.

In 2023, a controversial study suggests the existence of one of the world’s most famous dinosaurs. Tyrannosaurus rexcould be as intelligent as modern apes, which raises a lot of doubts from other researchers who have now put their receipts on the table.

“The possibility of that T-Rex “Maybe he was as intelligent as a baboon, which is both fascinating and terrifying, and had the power to reinvent our view of the past.” He explains University of Southampton paleontologist Darren Naish. “But our study shows how all the data we have contradicts this idea.”

Led by zoologist Kai Kaspar of Heinrich Heine University in GermanyThe new study found that brain size measurements in the 2023 study were inaccurate, inflating estimates of how many neurons a prehistoric reptile could fit in its head, especially in the brain. Forebrain.

This overestimation was primarily due to the assumptions of the original paper T-Rex The brain filled most of the space inside the skull, which is not true in most dinosaurs, Naish He explains in a blog post.

The relationship between brain and body mass in land-dwelling vertebrates. Dinosaurs like T-Rex They have brain-to-body size ratios similar to those of living reptiles. (Gutierrez Ibanez)

Moreover, Caspar and his colleagues argue that numbers of neurons do not reliably correspond to intelligence. Take birds for example – it was long assumed that their small head sizes meant they had fewer neurons and were therefore not very intelligent.

But we have since learned that birds like crows can outperform primates at some cognitive tasks despite the small size of their heads, leading to the conclusion that factors other than brain size, such as connectivity patterns, play a larger role in determining intelligence.

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“We argue that it is not a good practice to predict intelligence in extinct species when the number of neurons reconstructed from endophytic fungi is all we have to go on.” He says Kasper.

Instead, multiple lines of evidence are needed, from anatomy to evidence about behavior and further comparisons with modern animals to make more accurate estimates about prehistoric intelligence.

“A significantly improved understanding of the relationship between neuron numbers and other biological variables, especially cognitive performance, in extant animals is required,” before more accurate predictions can be made, the team said. argue in their paper.

Tree of relationships between reptiles, dinosaurs, and birds as well as the complexity of their brains
Relationships between groups of reptiles, in addition to representing the complexity of their brains, show that the brains of tyrannosaurs did not differ much from those of crocodilians. (Caspar et al., Anatomical record2024).

So where does that leave? T-Rex?

Recent behavioral evidence suggests that the notorious prehistoric reptiles may have been surprisingly social, Hunting in packsBut this is not enough to indicate the level of intelligence of primates.

“They were like giant, intelligent crocodiles, which is equally remarkable.” He finishes Nish.

This research was published in Anatomical record.