How well did the dinosaurs perceive their environment? A new study of the brain anatomy of therizinosaurs, plant-eating dinosaurs that lived during the Cretaceous Period, has revealed interesting sensory links with their notorious meat-eating cousins Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor. An international team of scientists, including PhD student Stephan Lautenschlager and Dr Emily Rayfield of the University of Bristol, found that the senses of smell, hearing and balance were well developed in therizinosaurs and might have affected or benefited from an enlarged forebrain. These findings came as a surprise to the researchers as exceptional sensory abilities would be expected from predatory and not necessarily from plant-eating animals.

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