How are scientists able to determine brain size and/or intelligence of extinct animals?


It is just as simple as assuming it’s as large as the brain cavity in the skull? What about surface area? Who knows how many folds/increased surface area extinct animals brains had, as I’d assume that would make a difference in intelligence? Or is it all just conjecture and there’s really know true way to know?

In: 10

The premise bigger brain = bigger smart is wrong.

Whales, elephants and some colloidal squid have brains that dwarf humans. The argument has roots in a very old racist study based on Caucasian and African skulls which held no ground back then or now.

The cranial size gave us a rough estimate of their brain size, like for example stagosaurus had a peanut brain.

The real measure of intelligence is the wrinklyness of the brain, folding indicates further grey matter, or synaptic ends. Which can only be seen in soft tissue, if we ever find a fully preserved brain somehow, then only we will be able to tell.

However sometimes people like to do fun mind challenges where they would assume similar brain:synapse ratio to the closest living ancestor to guess about how big it would be.

Edit: autocorrect cab suck NY dick