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LANL/Courtesy
A 3D image of Bistahieversor sealeyi, which was found in the Bisti Badlands in New Mexico and Imaged at Los Alamos National Laboratory's unique facilities.
Unique imaging of a dinosaur’s skull tells evolutionary tale

Researchers using Los Alamos National Laboratory’s unique neutron-imaging and high-energy X-ray capabilities have exposed the inner structures of the fossil skull of a 74-million-year-old tyrannosauroid dinosaur nicknamed the Bisti Beast in the highest-resolution scan of tyrannosaur skull ever done.

The results add a new piece to the puzzle of how these bone-crushing top predators evolved over millions of years.

“Normally, we look at a variety of thick, dense objects at Los Alamos for defense programs, but the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science was interested in imaging a very large fossil to learn about what's inside,” said Ron Nelson, of LANL’s Physics Division.

Nelson was part of a team that included staff from LANL, the museum, the University of New Mexico and the University of Edinburgh.

The results helped the team determine the skull’s sinus and cranial structure.

Initial viewing of the computed tomography (CT) slices showed preservation of un-erupted teeth, the brain cavity, internal structure in some bones, sinus cavities, pathways of some nerves and blood vessels, and other anatomical structures. 

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