General structure an evolution of the brain of ornithopod dinosaurs

The purpose of this project is to describe the endocranial casts (in silicone and virtual) of ornithopod dinosaurs from Europe and Asia, and establish comparisons with other archosaurs.

In order to do this, silicone endocasts of 3 taxa and virtual reconstructions from CT-scan dataset of 3 other taxa of ornithopod dinosaurs were made. The correspondence between the cast and the brain was confirmed by the presence of valleculae on the inner walls of the braincase. A collection of extant crocodiles and birds allowed more points of comparison.

Some endocasts made on the fossil specimens confirmed previously described characteristics, while new ones were brought to our attention. The endocasts opened up not only the morphology of the brain, but also the anatomy of the cranial nerves, the pituitary gland and the presence of valleculae.

The complexity of behaviors exhibited by Ornithopods is suggested as the trigger of the increase of the size of the cerebral hemispheres. A new phylogenetic analysis was established, including new characters from the endocranial cavity. It brings interesting perspectives about the position of several basal Iguanodontia.

Publications

  • Godefroit P., Bolotsky Y.L. and Lauters, P. 2012 (IF=4.22). A new gryposaur species (Dinosauria: Hadrosauridae) from the Maastrichtian (Late Cretaceous) of Far Eastern Russia. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36849
  • Lauters P., Godefroit P., Coudyzer W. and Vercauteren M. 2012. Iguanodon’s brain and perspectives on ornithopod evolution. In: Bernissart Dinosaurs in depth; A window on Early Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems, Ed. Pascal Godefroit, Indiana University Press, p. 213-224
  • Godefroit P., Escuillié F., Bolotsky Y.L. and Lauters P. 2012. A new basal hadrosauroid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Kazakhstan. In: Bernissart Dinosaurs in depth; A window on Early Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems, Ed. Pascal Godefroit, Indiana University Press, p. 334-358
  • Lauters P., Vercauteren M., Bolotsky Y.L. and Godefroit P. (in press) Cranial endocast of the lambeosaurine hadrosaurid Amurosaurus riabinini from the Amur Region, Russia. PLoS ONE
Internal member(s)
Other member(s)
Martine Vercauteren (ULB)
Walter Coudyzer (UZ Leuven)
Funding
FRIA grant
Go to top