From Lac du Der to Edinburgh, with the fossil of the Marne to learn the secrets of surviving dinosaurs

The study has just been published in the journal The science, the world famous American weekly. He aims to show that prehistoric mammals survived the catastrophe that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs, thanks to the ability to adapt, resulting not from a saving increase in intelligence, as one might think, but because of the rapid increase in body weight, the determining factor that allowed them to overcome major environmental shocks. “The brain did not follow. It is even relatively more modest, judging by the ratio that it forms with body weight.explains paleontologist Ornella Bertrand, principal investigator on the subject. “Until now, it was believed that the brain evolved in minimally identical relationship with the rest of the body. The extinction of the dinosaurs confirmed all hypotheses of possible diversity. This is science, the eternal reassessment of knowledge. »

Today, this Edinburgh University discovery, her own discovery based in part on the analysis of a fossil found near Reims, changes the perspective of the transformation of living beings in the eyes of someone who spent her childhood in Eclaron, a charming little village on the edge of Lac du Der, before continue his studies at La Nu College and Saint-Exupery High School in Saint-Dizier, then in Nancy, Montpellier, USA and Canada. Moreover, many people know her in Vitry-le-François from her interactions with her mother, Véronique Baudouin, at the head of the training center of the same name and as president of the integration association Au Fil des Chemins. “Studies like this show that we still have a lot to learn about animal brain evolution and how they form new ecosystems.”popularized by Dr. Ornella Bertrand. “It would be interesting to know what would have happened if the dinosaurs had survived. Would a person be the way he is today? I love paleontology in its way of asking questions about the environment and telling us that ultimately we are not that special. We see that brain development is not free. There is an important price to pay, for sleep, for food. This is a job, not a gift given to us because we deserve it. We are no different from others.
Each mammal simply went its own way, and the needs for adapting to the environment were not the same for everyone. »

The fossil dug up in Berra, near Reims, is none other than

than a mammal

Paleocene Predator

A total of thirty-four fossils served his research and underwent tomodensitometry, that is, an X-ray study that captures three-dimensional images. Thus, it would be possible to scan a large sample of mammals from several groups of animals, the current analogues of which are difficult to find. However, an endocranium from a small town near Reims, Berrou, now kept in the Royal Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels, is nothing more than the skeleton of a Paleocene carnivorous mammal: Arctocyon primaevuscousin of pigs, sheep and other ungulates of recent times. “Technology has made this research possible, which probably would not have been possible ten years ago,” admits Ornella Bertrand before confessing: “I would like the excavations to resume there. There must be other instances. »

Thirty years old, a real enthusiast, she always plunged headlong into “it’s detective work”and she hopes that one day she will be able to continue it in France.


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