A 20 million year old primate skull fossil was discovered by paleontologists that was in extraordinarily well preserved. With this awesome find, researchers have been able to delve deeper into the nature of the brain before it evolved into what it is today. By using evidence from the skull, researchers are able to study the size and shape of ancient brains.
How do they do it? First, the researchers, led by Xijun Ni at the CAS measure the fossil with powerful X-rays, which will show the difference between rock and skull. A 3D image is then produced of the fossil which they can study without fear of damaging the original sample.
From these images and exams, they deduced that the weight of the brain may be approximately 8 grams, while being able to figure out where the olfactory bulb, shape of the optic canal and nerve.
However, this fossil is merely the doorway to understanding the brains of the prehistoric world. And while this sample showed much promise, the skull is still heavily eroded. So the need for more samples will help researchers to dig even further into the ones who came before. Not only to find out about them, but how we as a species are still here today.