Sensitive Faces Helped Dinosaurs Eat, Woo and Take Temperature

June 29,2017

Neovenator saleriiThe blood vessels and nerves that supply the head are poorly documented in dinosaur fossils, but the new study published in online journal  shows that  may have possessed pressure receptors in the skin of its snout -- similar to those which allow crocodiles to forage in murky water.

University of Southampton graduate Chris Barker, who was studying for his Masters degree in Vertebrate Palaeontology when he carried out the research, said: "The 3D picture we built up of the inside of 's skull was more detailed than any of us could have hoped for, revealing the most complete dinosaur neurovascular canal that we know of.

<span style="font-family:"font-size:18px;">"The canal is highly branched nearest the tip of the snout. This would have housed branches of the large trigeminal nerve -- which is responsible for sensation in the face -- and associated blood vessels. This suggests that 

 had an extremely sensitive snout -- a very useful adaptation, as dinosaurs used their heads for most activities."

NeovenatorImages of the wear pattern on the dinosaur's teeth appear to show that it actively avoided bone while removing flesh from bones.

<span style="font-family:"font-size:18px;">Chris added: "Some modern-day species, such as crocodilians and megapode birds, use their snout to measure nest temperature, and in the case of crocodiles even pick up their young with extreme care, despite their huge mouths. might well have done the same.

Elis Newham, a University of Southampton PhD researcher who was also involved in the study, commented: "This finding comes at an exciting time in palaeontology, where we are using state-of-the-art technology to shed new light on the physiologies of extinct animals.