For the first time, a mass of fossilised dinosaur brain tissue has been discovered by researcher Jamie Hiscock of East Sussex, England. The fossil is said to be around 133-million-years-old. It looked like a brown pebble when Jamie found it a decade back.
Jamie then handed the fossil to Martin Brasie, a paleobiologist at University of Oxford, who closely analysed it. After a decade, it was examined by a team of researchers from University of Western Australia and University of Cambridge, and the sample was finally found to be a dinosaur brain tissue fossil.
The fossil belongs to a species of herbivorous dinosaur called Iguanodon, which existed on Earth 133 million years ago, researchers revealed.
"I noticed there was something odd about the preservation, and soft tissue preservation did go through my mind. Martin realised its potential significance right at the beginning, but it wasn't until years later that its true significance came to be realised," Jamie said.
"In his initial email to me, Martin asked if I'd ever heard of dinosaur brain cells being preserved in the fossil record. I knew exactly what he was getting at. I was amazed to hear this coming from a world renowned expert like him," he added.
Paleontologist David Norman presented the fossil in an annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology on October 27 and revealed that the wrinkled topology of the brain was still preserved in this ancient fossil.
The reason behind the fossil being so well preserved was because it was well 'pickled' with lower quantities of oxygen body of water which was very acidic. This aided in mineralisation of the brain and keeping the brain preserved over the years.
"What we think happened is that this particular dinosaur died in or near a body of water, and its head ended up partially buried in the sediment at the bottom," said David.
"Since the water had little oxygen and was very acidic, the soft tissues of the brain were likely preserved and cast before the rest of its body was buried in the sediment," he added.
Dr Alex Liu of Cambridge's Department of Earth Sciences stated that the chances of preserving brain tissue are extremely less and he described the specimen to be astonishing.
Jamie is having talks regarding placing this rare, soft and first of its kind soft dinosaur brain tissue fossil in a public museum, Huffington Post reported.