Scotland, once a dry desert over 250 million years ago, now has a misty, rainy climate. In this ancient Scottish landscape, Gordonia, an early mammal resembling a pig with a flat face and tusks, lived. Scientists used 3D imaging on a fossil from the Permian Period to study Gordonia’s brain. They made a digital model to see how early mammal brains were structured. Gordonia had features like reptiles. It lived about 254–252 million years ago. Despite being close to today’s mammals, Gordonia had a much smaller brain and intelligence similar to reptiles. Hady George, a PhD student at the University of Bristol and lead author of the study, talked about Gordonia’s special features. Gordonia had a small forebrain for thinking but a big pineal gland for metabolism. Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh, found that Gordonia’s brain was long and curved, not round. Even with its strange shape, the brain was big for its size, showing early changes in evolution. This study shows how early mammals like Gordonia helped the brains of later mammals, including humans, to grow smarter over millions of years.