Are dinosaurs birds or mammals: The heat is even getting hotter

To put the issue whether dinosaurs are warm blooded or cold blooded to rest, a study published in Science last year stated that dinosaurs were neither.  They were instead relegated to an intermediate category. But a recent re-analysis utilizing the same data drew new conclusions. And this time the conclusion is warm blooded.

A Stony Brook University paleontologist, Michael D’Emic, revisited the dinosaur metabolism, in a recent paper in Science.

“The study that I re-analyzed was remarkable for its breadth — the authors compiled an unprecedented dataset on growth and metabolism from studies of hundreds of living animals, evidence for mesothermy in dinosaurs.  Upon re-analysis, it was apparent that dinosaurs weren’t just somewhat like living mammals in their physiology; they fit right within our understanding of what it means to be a ‘warm-blooded’ mammal.” D’Emic says, referring to the previous paper.

D’Emic has based his analyses on dinosaur bones, as he is a specialist in bone micro-anatomy,  the minuscule structures which make up the skeletal tissue. He concentrated on growth rates amongst dinosaurs, which he believed were miscalculated in the previous study.

The previous research computed growth rates yearly down to daily rates, so as to standardize their comparisons. And D’Emic believes that this is where the scientists went wrong.

D’Emic also contends that the dinosaurs in the prior studies should have been analyzed categorically as living birds, since birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs and are warm blooded also.





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