The researchers relied on comparing the shape of dinosaur brains with those of living birds:
Generally speaking, living birds with more olfactory receptors—proteins that bind with specific odor molecules—tend to have disproportionately large olfactory bulbs, the regions in their brains that process smells. So Hughes and Finarelli combed the scientific literature for records of olfactory bulb sizes and measured brain-size ratios for 42 living birds, two extinct birds, the American alligator, and 28 extinct non-avian dinosaurs. They also tracked down the DNA of many living birds, and then combined all that data with a previously published study to build a new database of the living animals’ olfactory receptor genes.
When the researchers projected the resulting model of living creatures back to dinosaurs, they found that Tyrannosaurus rex probably had between 620 and 645 genes encoding its olfactory receptors, a gene count only slightly smaller than those in today’s chickens and house cats. Other large meat-eating dinosaurs, such as Albertosaurus, also had large olfactory receptor gene counts.
Michael Greshko, “T. rex had an amazing sense of smell, gene study suggests” at National Geographic
Just think. A cat the size of a small building, stalking you.
See also: Dinosaurs Are Tearing Paleontology Apart? Well, what did you expect? The Buddha with bigger teeth? 😉
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