Speculative Paleontology and the Dinosaurs’ Brains
Speculative architecture has gotten a lot of traction in the sustainability movement, with solar punk visions of cities integrated with oxygen-producing plants and greens and floating cyber-trees. In the 1980s paleontologist Dale Russell did some speculative work with an alternate history of dinosaurs. He created something called a “dinosauroid” based on his research about brain size in dinosaurs. But is it even possible? Here’s more from Scientific American:
Inspired by new data on troodontid brain size, Carl Sagan speculated about intelligent dinosaurs in The Dragons of Eden (1977) and posed the question: what if non-avialan dinosaurs hadn’t become extinct? If Cretaceous forms were already so ‘smart’, what would have happened given another 60-odd million years of evolution? His question seems to have inspired a number of science fiction stories that appeared soon afterwards. Among the most important data on troodontid brain size was that published by Dale Russell, then of the National Museum of Natural Sciences (Ottawa), and besides publishing several key studies on troodontid anatomy and functional morphology, in 1982 he did a rather peculiar thing. Co-operating with taxidermist and model maker Ron Séguin, he produced the article ‘Reconstruction of the small Cretaceous theropod Stenonychosaurus inequalis and a hypothetical dinosauroid’.
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