Dinosaurs might have been warm-blooded creatures: Research

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Feb 18, 2020, 12.17 PM(IST)

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The findings have come from an analysis of fossilized eggshells of dinosaurs.

A new research from Yale University suggests that dinosaurs might have been warm-blooded creatures.

The findings have come from an analysis of fossilized eggshells of dinosaurs.

The study was published in the journal of Science Advances.

Also read: Fossil footprints reveal existence of dinosaurs in South Africa 183 million years ago

This is contrary to the general image of dinosaurs who are considered as cold-blooded and scaly reptiles.

"Dinosaurs are at an evolutionary point between birds, which are warm-blooded, and reptiles, which are cold-blooded," said Robin Dawson, who conducted the research while she was a doctoral student in geology and geophysics at Yale. 

"Our results suggest that all major groups of dinosaurs had warmer body temperatures than their environment," she added.

The researchers tested eggshell fossils from a Troodon, a small, meat-eating Therapod (the same family as the T-Rex), a duck-billed, plant-eating dinosaur called a Maiasaura and a Megaloolithus, a sauropod known for its huge size.

Also read: Researchers find distant relative of T-Rex in Argentina

The internal temperature of dinosaurs can be analyzed by assessing the oxygen and the carbon atoms in fossilized egg shells.

This process is called as "clumped isotope paleothermometry."

"Eggs, because they are formed inside dinosaurs, act like ancient thermometers," said Pincelli Hull, an assistant professor at Yale University's Department of Geology and Geophysics, and a co-author of the study.

On the analysis of their fossilized egg shells researchers discovered that the dinosaurs' body temperatures were warmer than their surroundings would have been. 

So unlike reptiles, which rely on heat from the environment, the research indicates that dinosaurs were capable of internally generating heat.

Whether dinosaurs were cold or warm-blooded has been a long-running debate among paleontologists.