Scientists hail '˜astonishing' dinosaur brain found in Sussex

A fossil discovered on a Sussex beach more than a decade ago has been confirmed as a '˜pickled' dinosaur brain.

Friday, 28th October 2016, 11:27 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 9:52 am
Fossil hunter Jamie Hiscocks found the first example of fossilised brain tissue from a dinosaur

The unassuming brown pebble is the first example of fossilised brain tissue from a dinosaur, that lived 133 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous period.

Oxford and Cambridge university scientists believe it belongs to a species closely related to Iguanodon, a large herbivores which had a long tail for balance and hind legs that were longer than their fore limbs.

And their brains displayed distinct similarities to the brains of modern-day crocodiles and birds.

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Meninges - the tough tissues surrounding the actual brain - as well as tiny capillaries and portions of adjacent cortical tissues have been preserved as mineralised ‘ghosts’.

Co-author Dr Alex Liu of Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences said: “The chances of preserving brain tissue are incredibly small, so the discovery of this specimen is astonishing.”

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 bog or swamp shortly after its death.

This allowed the soft tissues to become mineralised before they decayed.

The fossil was found in Bexhill more than a decade ago by a fossil hunter Jamie Hiscocks,