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Scientists identify fossilized dinosaur brain tissue for first time

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British and Australian scientists have identified an unassuming brown pebble, found more than a decade ago by a fossil hunter in southern England, as the first known example of fossilized dinosaur brain tissue.

The fossilized brain, found by fossil enthusiast Jamie Hiscocks near Bexhill in Sussex in 2004, is most likely from a species similar to Iguanodon – a large herbivore that lived during the early cretaceous period, some 133 million years ago.

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In a report of their analysis in a Special Publication of the Geological Society of London, the researchers said they believed this piece of tissue was so well-preserved because the dinosaur’s brain was “pickled” in a highly acidic and low-oxygen body of water – like a bog or swamp – shortly after it died.

“The chances of preserving brain tissue are incredibly small, so the discovery of this specimen is astonishing,” said Alex Liu of Cambridge University’s department of earth sciences, who worked on its identification.

Cambridge’s David Norman, who led the work, said the finding also raised questions about the common perception of dinosaurs as animals with very small brains.

In typical reptiles, the brain is sausage-shaped and surrounded by a dense region of blood vessels and sinuses, meaning the brain itself only takes up about half of the space in the cranial cavity.

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The tissue in the fossilized brain, however, appeared to have been pressed against the skull, the scientists said, raising the possibility that some dinosaurs had larger brains.

But Norman’s team cautioned against drawing any firm conclusions from this single fossil about dinosaurs’ brain size or intelligence levels.

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“As we can’t see the lobes of the brain itself, we can’t say for sure how big this dinosaur’s brain was,” he said. “Of course, it’s entirely possible that dinosaurs had bigger brains than we give them credit for, but we can’t tell from this specimen alone.”

(Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘Paranoid’ GOP lawmaker who is obsessed with ‘Biblical War’ sought GPS devices to track adversaries: report

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Republican state Rep. Matt Shea of Spokane, Washington reportedly sought GPS devices and other spycraft to use against his political adversaries.

The revelations are part of a trove of emails obtained by The Spokesman-Review.

The paper said that Shea, who has connections to the Christian identity movement, believes that "Muslims, journalists and critics of all political stripes are 'supporting tyranny' if they don’t support his view that the United States is 'a Christian nation.'"

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Fourth-highest House Democrat becomes most powerful yet to to announce support for impeachment inquiry

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U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) has just become the highest-ranking Democrat so far to announce support for an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

Rep. Luján, who is closely tied to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, serves as Assistant Speaker. He also happens to be the highest-ranking Latino in Congress.

Luján is the 127th House Democrat to support opening an impeachment inquiry.

I support moving forward with an impeachment inquiry, which will continue to uncover the facts for the American people and hold this president accountable. This is not a position I’ve reached lightly.

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AG Barr removes Bureau of Prisons director in the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged suicide

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According to a breaking news report from the Associated Press, Attorney General William Barr has removed the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons in the wake of Jeffrey Epstein's apparent suicide while in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York over a week ago.

The move to remove Hugh Hurwitz comes as evidence grows that guards at the "chronically understaffed" prison "abdicated their responsibility to keep the 66-year-old Epstein from killing himself while he awaited trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls," the AP reports.

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