Fresh analysis of modern genes and ancient brains backs up the notion that the meat-eating dinosaur had an especially powerful nose. Talk about inhaling your food: The iconic predator Tyrannosaurus rex and its kin had some of the keenest senses of smell among all extinct dinosaurs, a new study finds. The work, published yesterday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, attempts to roughly quantify how many genes would have been involved in T. rex's sniffing skills, tens of millions of years after any traces of its DNA have decayed away. The idea that tyrannosaurs had good noses is not new. In 2008, for instance, researchers showed that T. rex and its siblings devoted large portions of their brains to processing smell. But the new study marks the latest in a growing movement to correlate living animals' DNA with their bodies and sensory abilities, with the goal of better understanding the capabilities and behaviors of their long-extinct relatives.
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