Dinosaur World

Dinosaurs Way Of Life: Brains And Intelligence.

Dinosaurs way of life as we can slightly guess is very very different from how the world is as of today. If anyone knows one fact about dinosaur intelligence, it is usually ‘they had brains the size of a walnut’. Some of them did but that did not stop them from being extremely successful animals and thriving on the earth for millions of years. While it is true that dinosaurs were not the most intelligent of animals, they had the brains they needed to survive. But indeed much of what we do know about dinosaur brains is based very much on guesswork. Brains and nerve tissue decay very quickly after death and ideas about dinosaurs’ intelligence are based on the size of the brain cases and nerve channels in fossilized skulls and backbones. Even this kind of research has only been carried out in around 5 percent of all known dinosaurs’ research.

dinosaur way of life. brains and intelligence

On average, dinosaur intelligence can probably be compared with that of bony fish, amphibians such as frogs and reptiles such as crocodiles. What we do know is that the meat eaters had bigger brains than the plant eaters. The more an animal had to do, the more brain power it needed to do it. There is also some evidence, based on what we know about how the brain works, that meat eaters had a more highly developed sense of vision and plant eaters had a more highly developed sense of small. Troodon is considered to be the most intelligent of all dinosaurs. Scientist has worked this out by comparing its brain size to the rest of its body. It was probably smarter than an average emu, and at least as clever as a possum. Its way of life required a lot of brain power. Large grasping hands with slim fingers would have allowed it to be able to grasp and pull. It was very fast on its feet and could probably move with great agility. Studies of the brain case suggest that it had a good sense of balance. It also had very large eyes for a dinosaur and may even have been a night hunter.

Dinosaurs Way Of Life: Stereoscopic Sight And Sound.

Life is known about how dinosaurs saw their and what sort of noises they made. We can make some guesses about their eyesight based on fossil remains of optic nerve channels and brains cases and on what we know about animals today. Most hunters have sharp colour vision and it is likely that the meat- eating dinosaurs had this too. Many plant eaters today have quite poor vision and some only see in black and white. Perhaps many plant- eating dinosaurs were like this as well. There is even less evidence available relating to the sounds that dinosaurs made. But from howling to attract a mate or calling to warn others to danger, to bellowing in fear or snarling in anger, sound is an essential part of the animal world. No doubt dinosaurs made these noises too. The position of the eye sockets in an animal’s skull gives it various advantages and disadvantages. If the eyes are placed squarely on the side of the head, then it is likely that an animal has a good all round view of its surroundings. It can watch pretty much everything around it without even having to move its head. If the eyes are placed more the front of the head, so their field of vision overlaps, this all around view is lost. But it is replaced by something much more useful- stereoscopic sight. Fossil skull remains shows us that tyrannosaurs, such as the Alioramus, head this stereoscopic vision. This gives an animal the ability to judge depth- vital for a hunter who needs to time a surprise ambush to the split second or judge a leap on to the back of a ceratopsian precisely, to avoid its lethal horn.

Below is a dinosaur bone showing it’s eye sockets, teeth, nostril holes and skull.

dinosaur bone showing the skull and eye socket

Some of the plant- eating hadrosaurs had curious crests and crescents on their heads. Many theories have been put forward regarding their use, from breathing apparatus to mating displays. The most likely one is that they generated sound. Inside the crest of the Parasaurolophus, were a series of passages. Recent research with a reconstructed crest has shown that this would have made a great, deep, reverberating note. Such a noise would have travelled long distance over the forests of late cretaceous North America, where Parasaurolophus made such noises to make contact with others of its kind. Deep notes are also idea as a warning, since it is difficult to identify any plant eater not wanting to draw attention to itself from a predator on the prowl. It might also interest my reader to know that during the Mesozoic Era, dinosaurs lived in the Antarctic region of the earth. Although it was warmer than it is today, there was still long periods of continuous darkness during the winter. Fossil evidence shows that animals such as leaellynasaurus who lived there had especially well developed eyes to help them see during dark days.

Dinosaurs Way Of Life: Colour And Camouflage.

Nobody knows what colour dinosaurs were. Their bodies may remain with us as fossils. The texture of their skin may imprint itself in mud which turns to rock. Even their footprints have left their mark in the earth, but colour is something that has not survived the 70 million year gap or more between extinction and today. When the Victorians first became aware if dinosaurs in the mid- nineteenth century Britain, they thought that the gigantic creatures they found would have been a dull green, brown or grey dinosaur.


These were the colours of the greatest animals such as elephants or reptiles, such as crocodiles or monitor lizards which their dinosaurs finds slightly resembled. Today we are not so sure. Much of what we imagine dinosaurs looked like is based on what we know about animals now. Animals survive and thrive because that have specific features or adaptations, which gave them some natural advantage in the world they inhabit. Some includes dinosaur descendants such as, birds, snakes and lizards, warning signals and to communicate with each other. The colours as mentioned are based on successful colour adaptations seen in animals today.

Dinosaurs Way Of Life: Camouflage

Prosaurolophus grazed and foraged for pine needles; magnolia leaves seeds and fruits in the Cretaceous forest of North America. Its likely coloring may have reflected the dark, shared world of the forest floor. Brownie and dark- and light- green patches would help it blend among the tree trunks, leaves and shafts of sunlight.


It is thought that many hadrosaurs like Prosaurolophus had this kind of colouration. And it was not only plant eaters that had such markings. The stalking carnivores had just as much need to hide themselves from their prey and many were probably coloured in this way.

Imagine this scene; an Allosaurs approaches a Stegosaurus and they circle each other, ready for a fight to the earth. As they roar and snarl, the Stegosaurus flushes its diam0nd- shaped back plates bright pink, sending an alarm signals to its enemy. Many animals today use a similar tactic- called a ‘threat display’- to avoid a real fight. This idea is to show your opponent that you are extremely angry and prepared to do battle. When it was courting Stegosauruses, a male probably also flushed its plates arrival males, to warn them off.

This is still just a theory. Research has suggested that plates Stegosaurus’s back were too fragile to be much use as amour. They were also rich in blood vessels, which could have made the plates flush pink. Like predators today, Allosaurus probably had sharp colour vision. Instinct or experience would have warned it that a Stegosaurus with bright pink spines was likely to put up a fight.

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