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Dr. Logan King - The Digital Brain of Non-Avian Dinosaurs: Developmental and Evolutionary Trends

Logan King
Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology
Chinese Academy of Sciences | CAS
Geology Colloquium - GG Building 200A or via Zoom

Speaker: Logan King

Abstract: Computed tomography (CT) scanning of dinosaur braincases has revolutionized the study of neuroanatomy over the past two decades. The advent of non-destructive digital modelling has changed our perception on how non-avian dinosaurs perceived the world around them. Moreover, CT scanning has allowed paleontologists to measure how the dinosaur brain changed with not only evolution, but also with age. For this talk, I will discuss tomographic methods used in modern paleo-neuroanatomy research, how digital models are reconstructed for description and statistical analysis, and how digital methods are shaping research in non-avian dinosaur neuroanatomy. I will also be demonstrating how the brain form of two dinosaurs – the eudromaeosaur Velociraptor and the sauropodomorph Thecodontosaurus – have shaped our understanding of diet, hearing, and locomotion within a species and across a clade. The results presented in this section of the talk use comparative observations and measurements made from the ears and brains of dinosaur specimens to calculate hearing frequencies and to observe how parts of the brain that dictate locomotory ability change between taxa, respectively. Additionally, I will show recent results from my research has used geometric morphometrics and a large dataset (n=92) of digital brain models to better understand how phylogeny – and sometimes, ontogeny – are the primary drivers of the brain form in non-avian dinosaurs and their closest living relatives: birds and crocodilians.

Bio: I was born and raised in Lamar County of western Alabama. After high school, I attended the University of Alabama where I graduated with a degree in geology in 2013. I began my master’s at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas shortly thereafter. A couple of years later, I graduated with a MSc in geosciences in 2017. That same year, I began my PhD at the University of Bristol in England and graduated in 2021. Recently, I was awarded a two-year research fellowship for a postdoctoral position at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing.

Host: Bruce Railsback

This is a hybrid event, if you are unable to join us in person please join via zoom. 
Meeting ID: 997 2477 2096
Note: A password is required to join this meeting. Please call the Geology office (706-542-2652) and speak with a representative to obtain the code. Alternatively, a code request can be made to UGA Geology.

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