Early mammals were brainy and nosy

THE mammal-like animals living alongside Jurassic dinosaurs had acute senses of smell and touch, which may have helped them survive their fearsome neighbours. Timothy Rowe and colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin used high-resolution X-ray CT scans to create 3D maps of the skulls of two ancient shrew-like beasts, revealing the shapes of their brains. Both had a big neocortex, like modern mammals, but they also had large olfactory bulbs: two prominent bumps on the front of the brain that process smell. Rowe also found evidence of a strong sense of touch and motor coordination (Science, DOI:
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