Modern technology has given new insights into the body and brain structure of the odd-looking Nigersaurus taqueti
, a 110 million-year-old sauropod that once roamed the Sahara.
In a new study, Paul Sereno, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago, and colleagues did a CT scan of the dinosaur's braincase. Sereno received some funding for his research from the National Geographic Society. (National Geographic News is owned by National Geographic Society.)
The scientists discovered that the dinosaur's muzzle angled directly toward the ground, unlike the forward-pointing snouts of other dinos.
The creature's broad snout, as seen in this artist's rendering above, contained hundreds of needle-shaped teeth that worked like a lawnmower, scissoring food into its mouth.
It is just outlandish to think that an animal which weighs nearly as much as an elephant had a skull that was featherweight, Sereno told National Geographic News.
The research appeared today in the journal PLoS ONE
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Art by Tyler Keillor/Photo by Mike Hettwer, courtesy of Project Exploration ) 2007 National Geographic