Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Brains, Master ... Brains!

This post is about all our braincases. Braincases have to be the most complicated 'single' bones we have found - they have very complex shapes. And we have lots of them - 8 of them, complete or in parts! Considering that no other Thalattosaur braincases have been found / or are inaccessible, I'd say that is really crazy, even for Bernie!

So overall we have 8 braincases or parts of braincases. Six contain enough of the structure for us to be sure they are unique. Two are fragments that apparently don't fit on any of the other larger parts, so I'm confident that they represent unique individuals as well. Given that we also have bones from a vey small individual and a bone from a very large individual, this brings us up to a total of 10 individuals in this find!

Here are pictures of the braincases I have copies of. Two of the original braincases were sent to Alaska before I got a chance to scan them, so I don't have the files to print 3D copies. The two fragments are at the lower left. And the grey one on the lower right is the latest one that I've just finished preparing.

 The 'braincases' actually don't enclose the whole brain - only part of it. The rest nestles up against the roof of the skull and between the eyes. So remember - when you are ever attacked by a Komodo Dragon or Thalattosaur, a sharp stick sideways through the eye, brain, and out the other eye is the way to kill them!
Here is a short video about preparing the braincase. Sincerely, Greg Carr

Here a couple of highlight pictures to show where braincases fit into the skulls. The backbones attach to the skull at the Occipital Condyle, with the hole for the spinal cord just above. 

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