For three years, paleontologists from the University of Saint Petersburg have been thinking about studying fossilized fragments of an ankylosaurus. More precisely, three fragments of his skull. Thanks to computed tomography, they were able to reconstruct the interior of his cranial cavity in 3D. Their results are published in Biological Communications.
These paleontologists managed to examine the inner ear of the animal, Bissektipelta archibaldi. He would have heard low frequency sounds. In a range from 300 to 3000 hertz, like modern crocodiles. He would also have had a particularly developed sense of smell, since around 60% of his brain had olfactory bulbs. A considerable advantage to feel a predator in advance.
This herbivore would have had another interesting faculty: that of cooling its brain. Literally. The network of veins and arteries in its cranial box would have allowed the blood to “circulate in different directions and be redistributed, while maintaining the optimal brain temperature of the animal”, explains Ivan Kuzmin, co-author of the study . A brain moreover half as small as what researchers expected, based on modern animals. Comparable to two nuts, or 26.5 g for this dinosaur of about three meters. Ivan Kuzmin humorizes: “Judging by the size of their olfactory bulbs, they sniffed a little faster than they thought. “