ISLAMABAD - Paleontologists from St Petersburg University have been the first to study in detail the structure of the brain and blood vessels in the skull of the ankylosaur Bissektipelta archibaldi. It was a herbivorous dinosaur somewhat similar in appearance to a modern armadillo. The first three-dimensional computer reconstruction of a dinosaur endocast made in Russia — a digital cast of its braincase — was of help to the scientists. It made it possible to find out that ankylosaurs, and Bissektipelta in particular, were capable of cooling their brains, had an extremely developed sense of smell, and heard low-frequency sounds. However, their brain was one and a half times smaller than that of modern animals of the same size. Ankylosaurs appeared on Earth in the middle of the Jurassic — about 160 million years ago — and existed until the end of the dinosaur era, which ended 65 million years ago. These herbivorous animals were somewhat reminiscent of modern turtles or armadillos, were covered with thick armor, and sometimes even had a bony club on the tail. The researchers became interested in the uniquely-preserved remains of ankylosaurs from Uzbekistan.


Although these fossils have been known for 20 years, only now have the scientists had a unique opportunity to study the specimens from the inside using cutting-edge methods.