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T. Rex an intelligent tool-user and culture-builder? Not so fast, says new U of A research

Recent research suggested a truly horrifying thought — that T. Rex, perhaps the most fearsome predator to walk the earth, was also smart enough to use tools, hunt in packs and pass down knowledge.

But a new paper throws cold water on those dinosaur fever dreams.

A year ago, an American researcher published a peer-reviewed paper that compared fossils of Tyrannosaurus brain cases to modern reptiles and birds and concluded the ancient hunters had brainpower equivalent to that of modern-day baboons.

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A new paper is questioning almost all the assumptions made in that earlier work.

Co-author Cristian Gutierrez, a University of Alberta neuroscientist, says the previous paper far overestimated the size of the T. Rex brain.

And besides, he says, more neurons don’t mean more intelligence.

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He says Tyrannosaurs probably had smarts closer to those of a crocodile than a primate, so rest easy — if the thought of a seven-tonne crocodile makes you rest easy.

— More to come…

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