Computed tomography made it possible to make a three-dimensional reconstruction of the only found skull of one of the most ancient predators on the planet - the progenitor of dinosaurs from the Garyania genus, which lived a quarter of a billion years ago. Now scientists will be able to trace the evolution of his brain, the press service of the Center for Diagnostics and Telemedicine told TASS on Thursday.
"Thanks to a specially designed high-resolution scanning protocol, the researchers were able to create high-quality three-dimensional reconstruction of the skull, which will allow you to study fine anatomical details and trace the evolution of the brain and other intracranial structures in a single group of archosaurs," said the center, which conducted the study with St. Petersburg State University and Paleontological Institute named after A. A. Borisyak RAS.
As told in the center, about 250 million years ago, the top of the food pyramid was occupied by erythrosuchids - extinct reptiles that are considered the progenitors of dinosaurs and crocodiles. They inhabited the planet in the Early and Middle Triassic (250-237 million years ago). There are several genera in the family, the earliest of which is the Garjainia genus. It was identified by the Soviet paleontologist Vitaly Ochev in 1958, named after the geologist Vladimir Garyainov, who in the 1950s discovered a whole burial of fossil lizards in the Orenburg region. However, scientists managed to find only one complete skull.
"For erythrosuchids, studies of three-dimensional casts of the cavities of the brain and inner ear have never been carried out. We plan that this will provide new information about their structure, will allow us to say something about the quality of hearing, the sense of balance, the position of the animal's head and, perhaps, about The main goal is to build a pedigree using new anatomical features of the cerebral section of the skull, as well as to discuss the relationship of different species and the evolution of an entire section of the skull in a separate group of archosaurs over 250 million years, "- said a junior researcher at the Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Faculty of Biology St. Petersburg State University Ivan Kuzmin.
Scientists have created a photorealistic three-dimensional reconstruction that will allow accurate measurements of internal structures, estimate volumes, trace the course of blood vessels and nerves in natural intraosseous openings, and analyze how vascular and neural channels have changed during evolution. In addition, it was possible to scan the teeth.
"This may allow us to obtain additional information from the 'core' of intact teeth, which was hidden from external factors under dense enamel - the most durable part of the lizard's body. This is a unique 'time capsule' that has been waiting for 250 million years. And now with the help of modern With spectral computed tomography, we will try to compare the composition of the dentin of the teeth with the teeth of the relatives of the Garyinia - crocodiles from our time, "says Viktor Gombolevsky, head of the department for quality development of radiology at the Center for Diagnostics and Telemedicine.