Where Are All the Dinosaur Brains?


[♪ INTRO] When you picture a fossil, the first thing
that comes to mind is probably a dinosaur bone. We’ve all seen those terrifyingly enormous skeletons that go all the way up to the museum’s ceiling. But what about their brains? And their blood vessels, and skin, and other organs? Most of the super old fossils we’ve found are just bones because it’s a lot easier to preserve bone than soft tissue for millions of years. But we have found some fossilized soft tissue from dinosaurs, as well as other animals that lived millions of years ago, including a fossilized piece of dinosaur brain. It’s just really rare. Before any part of an animal could start being fossilized, it first needed to, you know, die. And then, for most types of fossils, it needed to be buried. For the most part, that didn’t happen right
away. Instead, the bodies would just sit out there in the open. Perfect targets for scavengers and microbes to come pick off and decay the soft tissue, so that by the time the animal was buried, only the bones were left. Over time, minerals would seep into where the bones were buried and harden them into the fossils we find today. Paleontologists can sometimes use these fossilized bones to indirectly study soft tissues using what are known as trace fossils: things like skin patterns left in the mud. But very, very rarely, they’ll find an animal
fossil that includes actual fossilized soft tissue, because the animal was buried quickly enough for its soft tissue to fossilize before it decayed. Some of the most important examples of this are fossils from the Cambrian Explosion, a period of time about 550 million years ago that saw one of the most drastic increases in the number of species on Earth. But a lot of those species were soft-bodied, meaning that they had no bones. So normally, we wouldn’t expect to find fossils of them. Unfortunately for them, but lucky for us, some of these animals were buried almost instantly in events like underwater mudslides, so fossilization could start right away. Without the soft tissue fossils we’ve found from the Cambrian Explosion, there’s a lot we’d never know about one of the most exciting times in the history of life. We’ve also occasionally found soft tissue from a few other animals, including dinosaurs. In 2005, for example, researchers at North Carolina State University claimed to have found actual blood vessels and other soft tissues preserved in a T. rex fossil, meaning that they weren’t fossilized. They’d just been kept from decaying. The team suggested that the tissues were preserved because the iron in the dinosaur’s blood turned into formaldehyde, but the findings are still disputed because direct preservation of organic matter over millions of years really shouldn’t be possible. With or without formaldehyde. There have been other, less controversial findings, though. In late 2016, paleontologists found a 99-million-year-old dinosaur tail perfectly preserved in amber. And we’ve found a few dinosaur fossils that contain fossilized skin and feathers, like an Ornithomimus fossil discovered in 2009. We already knew that Ornithomimus was weirdly similar to the modern ostrich, but the new fossil showed us that it also had the same arrangement of feathers on its body and bare skin on its legs, probably to help regulate its body temperature. And, yes, we’ve found fossilized dinosaur brain. In 2016, researchers announced that they’d found a pebble-sized fossil that contained brain tissue. They don’t know exactly which dinosaur it
came from, but it’s about 133 million years old. That’s the only dinosaur brain tissue we’ve ever found, but there are plenty more fossils waiting to be discovered. So who knows what we’ll learn about the softer parts of dinosaurs someday. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow! If you’re interested in learning more about dinosaurs and the history of life on Earth in general, you can check out our new sister show, Eons, over at youtube.com/eons. [♪ OUTRO]

100 thoughts on “Where Are All the Dinosaur Brains?

  1. I remember that episode in Dexter's Laboratory where a dog's brain had to be substituted for a resurrected t-rex's missing brain.

    Good times…

  2. A meteor hitting some polar region where dinosaur like animals live could help. Sudden explosion of high heat water/steam denaturing proteins in chunks of soft tissue while shooting them into deep cracks or holes in ice, freezing in 90C or below temperatures, hidden below a mountain of ice, safe from cosmic radiation.

  3. if they were to dissect one of the dinosaur mummies, they could see some actual dinosaur brains, as well as internal organs… problem is, they are so rare that no one wants to risk damaging them

  4. If we don't know which dinosaur it's from then do we even know that it is actually from a dinosaur at all? Could it be from basically anything that was contemporary with dinosaurs 133 million years ago (possibly but not necessarily a dinosaur)?

  5. The bloodvessels in the bone are very well conserved sometimes. Even canaliculi are visible. See the work from the Belgian researcher, I forgot his name.

  6. I know what happened to the brains…. Emily Graslie scooped them, for a episode of "The Brain Scoop", she admitsit at the end of each episode. "It's still got {Dinosaur} Brains on it."

  7. I feel bad for Olivia she always gets all this hate because she's different from the other hosts. Personally I'm indifferent about all the hosts and as long as I get an interesting video, I'm happy

  8. That is an intense graphic picture of blood and gore, used to represent rotting dinosaurs. Although it doesn't bother me, I think the same could be accomplished with a simple cartoon looking artwork.

  9. The iron in the dinosaurs blood tuned into formaldehyde.
    I'm sorry, what! That has to be one of the most nonsensical things I've ever heard. Did the the dinosaur's tissues have a particle accelerator that could cause fission, or were these dinosaurs alchemists? Could they turn lead into gold? Did that gold flood the market and cause mass dinosaur inflation? Was the extinction of the dinosaurs actually due to economic downturn? If so why aren't we studying that, instead of their fossilized brains.

  10. The editing cuts out all of the natural breaths and breaks between phrases, which makes the video seem like one long, run-on sentence. It's painful.

  11. If we do not know which dinosaur the brain came from, how can we be sure it is from a dinosaur at all? Lots of creatures had brains 130 million years ago, not just dinosaurs.

  12. Aren't any brain because there aren't any dinosaurs, myth created big pharmaceutical companies and academics to keep up funding grants.

  13. Seems like im the minority here, but I find the way she talks annoying. Not trying to be negitive, just honest.

  14. I'm glad I clicked on this video. I assumed it was a silly question and that all of that stuff would have decayed over millions of years. I love being wrong, pleasantly surprised, and then learning something new! 😀

  15. Amusingly enough the Cambrian Explosion wasn't some type of detonation, even though it records the death of millions of animals that were suddenly fossilized. It makes you wonder why those animals weren't being fossilized prior…

  16. So I looked at the source provided and the article says that iron particles have an effect on proteins and cell membranes similar to formaldehyde.

  17. Can't believe u did this episode and didn't mention the the dinosaur fossil so well preserved it looks like a statue, and they were even able to find remnants of pigmentation

  18. She need s to stop that thing she does at the end of her sentences. Other than that I actually enjoy her presenting. Still prefer the other two presenters, but shes not half bad.

  19. 0:51 WOW that decaying dinosaur photo is gruesome! Were that in The Land Before Time, I'd be scarred for life… … tries not to think of Littlefoot's mother : [

  20. Why is it that every video with the girl commentating has a lot of dislikes? She's fine, she's done nothing wrong from what I see.

  21. Could somebody explain to me why it is impossible to turn iron into formaldehyde? I'm not disputing this, I just suck at chemistry.

  22. I was hoping it would be about dinosaur intelligence. I read somewhere that smarter dinosaurs like troodon were about as intelligent as a chicken and I wonder why intelligence, in everything from parrots, to us, seems to be a Cenozoic thing.

  23. Iron turned into formaldehyde? Ha. These evolutionists will say really dumb things to try to protect their precious theories. And finding soft tissue in fossils is controversial because it upsets them cause its evidence that they're wrong willingly ignorant liars who won't accept such evidence even if it smacks them in the face.

  24. Her hair is looking not greasy in this video. I guess I found a pedantic thing about myself.
    (By which I don't mean she should change her hair look, I can always just not look, because it bothers only me – explanation for the easily outraged.)

  25. Dinosaurs don’t have brains they think with their kidneys
    Because science
    If dinosaurs have brain a Superman a kill them with a broken sword

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