'Pebble' found in Sussex turns out to be a dinosaur brain

Rosie Vare

Dinosaur bones have proven to be rather resilient to the ravages of time - but finding the remains of soft tissue like muscles and organs is extremely rare.

Remarkably, scientists from the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and Western Australia have observed one of the exceedingly unusual exceptions.

See also: 60ft fossil reveals whale within a whale then eaten by shark

See also: Fossils discovered at airport could be largest flying bird ever

They have identified a pebble-like object which was found in Sussex more than 10 years ago as a piece of dinosaur brain, making the discovery the first ever confirmed.

According to the team, it bears a resemblance to what one finds in modern day birds and crocodiles.

The brain portion that managed to survive is from the exterior area of the mass and comprised of meninges, capillaries, and cortical tissue.

Researchers believe it hails from a close relative of the Iguanodon, an herbivore that roamed the land in the Early Cretaceous period.

The team also suspects the dinosaur perished near a bog or swamp, as the tissue preservation was likely aided greatly by water high in acid and low in oxygen.

Said one of the scientists, "...hopefully this is the first of many such discoveries."