Dinosaurs have fascinated adults and children alike for hundreds of years. From iconic films such as Jurassic Park to dinosaur attractions in London such as the Dinosaur World Live stage show, many of us will take every opportunity to learn about these fearsome and majestic beasts.
It’s well known that many of the large sauropods - such as brachiosaurus and diplodocus - were not particularly intelligent, with brains the size of a tennis ball in their massive bodies. In fact, by the standards of today’s animals, all dinosaurs were rather dim-witted. But which dinosaurs can be called the smartest and why? Let’s take a look.
Palaeontologists generally agree that the smartest dinosaur to have walked the planet was troodon. It had a large brain for the relatively small size of its body, suggesting that its cognitive abilities exceeded those of its peers. Troodon walked on its hind legs and was smart enough to hunt its prey effectively. It had good eyesight and hearing, and may have hunted in packs, meaning it had the ability to communicate with other animals.
Convincing circumstantial evidence suggests that deinonychus was smart enough to be a social animal too. It’s thought they hunted in packs to bring down large dinosaurs, meaning they had to be bright enough to work together. This would necessitate some strategic thinking and communication - and given their relatively large brains, scientists think it’s entirely possible they were capable of this.
This small, bird-like dinosaur was around in the late Jurassic period, and only grew to the size of a turkey. Despite its size, it was one of the most active and intelligent dinosaurs. It was fast enough to prey on swift animals, meaning it needed sharp senses and decent agility. In terms of intelligence, it was on a par with a modern day mouse.
Oviraptor is thought to have been one of the most intelligent dinos of the late Cretaceous period because, like birds today, it sat on its eggs until they hatched. Some scientists suggest oviraptor even cared for its young to some extent, which is an advanced behaviour for a dinosaur. Again, oviraptor had a large brain for its body size, meaning it could probably outwit most of its peers.
Although not necessarily the most quick-witted dinosaur around, the T-rex had highly developed senses that gave it an advantage over other dinosaurs. As well as being huge enough to chomp its prey with a single bite, T-rex had a strong sense of smell and long inner ear canals that allowed for rapid eye movements and quick reflexes.
If you’re wondering where to see dinosaurs in London this summer, don’t miss Dinosaur World Live at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre from 11 August to 3 September 2023. Introducing the whole family to fabulous creatures such as triceratops, microraptor and of course T-rex, it’s the ideal event for dino-mad kids. Get your tickets today and discover the world of dinosaurs in London!