A giant flightless bird still had a bird brain
The largest bird that has ever existed weighed about 600 kilograms and had a huge head about half a meter in length. Despite this, the brain inside was compressed to get space.
Dromornis stirtoni which is the largest of all other giant birds had a height of about 3 meters and the skull which was wider and taller than its length, due to the powerful large beak. This inspired paleontologists from Australia to look inside it to study in more detail the space of the brain and see how it functions.
The new study analyzes the brains of extinct giant birds that were a unique part of Australian nature for years before they became extinct nearly 50,000 years ago.
Because of their large eyes and beak, it was assumed that these birds had a highly improved stereoscopic eyesight or depth understanding, the researchers say.
Thanks to the form of their brains and nerves scientists managed to understand a lot about their sensory abilities and their possible way of life that allowed these amazing birds to live in forests around rivers and lakes for a very long time.
“It is really exciting when we can apply modern methods to discover morphological features of these giant birds that were previously completely unknown”- the scientists say.
New research which is based on remains of fossils dating from approximately 24 million years ago shows that the brain and nerves of the Dromornis stirtoni are most similar to the brains and nerves of modern chickens. This creature had a large skull, however, behind its large beak was a strange skull. In order to accommodate the muscles capable of supporting this massive beak, the skull grew taller and wider than its actual length, so the brain inside was compressed and squashed to fit in. In prehistoric times, the body sizes of Dromornis species grew larger and smaller, that depended on the climate and the food.
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