Dinosaurs Neither Cold Blooded Nor Warm Blooded?
Posted by James Fenner on June 13, 2014 in Science
On Thursday, researchers from the University of New Mexico (UNM) claim dinosaurs cannot be classified as being either cold blooded or warm blooded. [...] The study, entitled Evidence of Mesothermy in Dinosaurs, was recently published in the journal Science.
Cold-blooded ectotherms rely upon their environment to heat their bodies. On the other hand, warm-blooded endotherms are capable of generating body heat by burning energy at a much greater rate. The debate over whether dinosaurs were endotherm or ectotherm remains one of the most contentious, long-running debates in the world of paleontology.
[...] researchers from the University of New Mexico have attempted to explore the relationship between growth rate and metabolic rate in a number of dinosaurs. Dominating the landscape over a 100 million-year period, very little remains of dinosaurs, except bones. With this in mind, the research team set out to investigate an extensive database of animal growth and energy use [...]
“Most dinosaurs were probably mesothermic… A thermally intermediate strategy that only a few species – such as egg laying echidnas or great white sharks – use today.”
[...] Although the growth rate of dinosaurs was slower than modern mammals and birds, the research suggests they matured far quicker than today’s reptiles.
The team theorize that dinosaurs needed this intermediate, mesotherm body system to ensure they were able to move quicker than cold-blooded lizards, while needing to forage for less food than warm-blooded mammals. Grady claims this type of metabolism, eventually, helped the dinosaurs to become ecologically dominant and likely led to their enormous size.
(ellipses and Science link added)
My goodness, these are the ugliest creatures I can imagine. Glad they became extinct before Home sapiens arrived on the scene.
You mean so we don't have to look at them? :) :)