The Tyrannosaurus rex is one of the most well-known dinosaurs represented in history, believed to have existed between 66 and 68 billion years ago. The species had a massive skull balanced by a long heavy tail, which measured up to 40 feet in length and 12 feet in height. Experts have slowly unravelled more about the Hollywood favourite over the years, including everything from the way it looked, moved and socialised.
And during the BBC’s ‘The Real T-Rex,’ Mr Packham visited Dr Larry Witmer, who has used CT scanners to look into a fossilised skull and find the precise shape of T-rex’s brain.
Mr Packham said: “To find out if we have underestimated its brainpower, one scientist has called in the medics.
“Palaeontologist Dr Larry Witmer has spent his career trying to get inside the T-Rex’s head.
“The latest medical scanning technology enables him to conduct a virtual dissection.
“I’ve joined Larry to see what he’s discovered.”
Dr Witmer explained how CT scanning technology has allowed scientists to make a breakthrough.
He said: “In the past, we’ve tried to understand the T-Rex, and we were looking at the fossils, but we could learn only so much from the outside.
“But with the advent of CT scanning, it allowed us to peer inside to see what was going on.
“You can make the skull transparent, so we can peer inside.
“This allows Larry to produce something utterly extraordinary, the precise form of the T-Rex’s brain.”
Dr Witmer then used a 3D printer to get a physical look at the brain.
He told viewers: “Trying to peer inside the mind of a dinosaur, this is the closest we’re going to get.
“If you compare it to the skull that it came from, it seems vanishingly small.
“But really for a reptile with a body size of the T-Rex, this is maybe two or three times what we might expect.
“Bird-brain used to be an insult, but now it’s actually a compliment.
“In recent years we have discovered their structures are entirely surprising, the neurons are much smaller and highly densely packed.
“We have been misjudging its potential cognitive ability.”
The expert concluded that the T-Rex was a good hunter after identifying supersized sensory zone.
He also stated that the brain was designed to hear ultra-low frequency infrasounds that humans cannot hear.
These are produced by a variety of geophysical processes including earthquakes, volcanic activity, geomagnetic activity, avalanches, and meteors and by some man-made sources such as aircraft and explosions.
Infrasonic and near-infrasonic sound may provide advanced warning and monitoring of these extreme events.
‘The Real T-Rex With Chris Packham’ is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.