About This File
ct, scan, wihout contrast, stl, air, spaces, dinosaurs, veterinarian, brain, head, skull, 3d, model, printable, sinuses
Air spaces such as the airway and sinuses comprise a neglected anatomical system. CT scanning and advanced 3D computer visualization provided the most complete view ever of the air spaces in two groups of dinosaurs and their modern relatives (birds and crocodilians), with a mammal of parochial interest (humans) thrown in for comparison. Modern alligators and ostriches both show great diversity in air sinuses, revealing that the complex air spaces of dinosaurs were part of their archosaurian heritage. All of the air spaces were modeled in the predatory theropod dinosaurs Majungasaurus and Tyrannosaurus, revealing in both a simple arcing airway, large olfactory regions, and lots of sinuses. But the major finding was just how much of the head was occupied by air. The brain cavity was tiny in comparison. An outcome of digitally reconstructing all the head tissues was that head mass could be calculated, allowing an assessment of potential weight savings due to the sinuses.