Theropod dinosaurs have evolved to a human level intelligence



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Theropod dinosaurs have evolved to a human level intelligence

Could theropod dinosaurs have evolved to a human level of intelligence? This question is also the title of a study published in The Journal of comparative neurology. The scholars and researchers told: "Noting that some theropod dinosaurs had large brains, large grasping hands, and likely binocular vision, paleontologist Dale Russell suggested that a branch of these dinosaurs might have evolved to a human intelligence level, had dinosaurs not become extinct.

I offer reasons why the likely pallial organization in dinosaurs would have made this improbable, based on four assumptions. First, it is assumed that achieving human intelligence requires evolving an equivalent of the about 200 functionally specialized cortical areas characteristic of humans.

Second, it is assumed that dinosaurs had an avian nuclear type of pallial organization, in contrast to the mammalian cortical organization.Third, it is assumed that the interactions between the different neuron types making up an information processing unit within pallium are critical to its role in analyzing information.

Finally, it is assumed that increasing axonal length between the neuron sets carrying out this operation impairs its efficacy. Based on these assumptions, I present two main reasons why dinosaur pallium might have been unable to add the equivalent of 200 efficiently functioning cortical areas.

First, a nuclear pattern of pallial organization would require increasing distances between the neuron groups corresponding to the separate layers of any given mammalian cortical area, as more sets of nuclei equivalent to a cortical area are interposed between the existing sets, increasing axon length and thereby impairing processing efficiency.

Second, because of its nuclear organization, dinosaur pallium could not reduce axon length by folding to bring adjacent areas closer together, as occurs in cerebral cortex." Theropods are a clade of saurischian dinosaurs.

Most were carnivorous, but certain genera evolved into herbivores, omnivores, piscivores, and insectivores. Theropods appeared in the Upper Triassic and included the only large terrestrial carnivores from the Lower Jurassic to the end of the Cretaceous.

Birds appeared during the Upper Jurassic and today there are 10,000 living species. In 2014, scientists published details about how birds evolved from other theropod dinosaurs. Among the traits linking birds with other theropod dinosaurs are the forcula, air sacs, brooding of eggs and plumage, especially in coelurosaurs but also in other clades, since the simple feather is an ancestral trait common to all the ornithodires.