The topic of dinosaurs has always been a controversial issue regarding many aspects of their existence. This is why so much research has been done so far in the field.
A new study reveals that dinosaurs were much closer to mammals than initially thought. Upon a closer look at these mysterious creatures, it turns out they were warm-blooded and quite different from the cold lizards they were associated with.
Even their name derives from the Greek “terrible lizard”, which was even more proof that the scary creatures also functioned like the creatures they resembled physically.
However, the new study released on Friday, May 29th 2015 points that dinosaurs had more features in common with birds than it was previously believed.
Stony Brook paleontologist Michael D’Emic, who is the author of the paper published in the journal Science, stated that “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.”
The paper drew its inspiration from another research study published in the same journal in June 2014. That research carried out by a team of experts at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque reached the conclusion that dinosaurs could be regarded as “mesothermic”. This was a special category that placed them somewhere between the endothermic (warm-blooded) species and ectothermic (cold-blooded) species.
D’Emic, who is a specialist in bone microanatomy, is able to study bones at an extremely detailed level. Therefore, he could see that dinosaurs were likely to grow more at certain times of the year, during particular weather conditions. Given the similarity between dinosaurs and modern-day birds, associated with this inconstant growth rate that was accelerated at certain times, the author of the study reached the conclusion that these creatures must have kept themselves warm.
However, biologist John Grady, from the University of New Mexico stated that the original theory – that dinosaurs belonged to the mesothermic species is still valid, by comparing the dinosaurs’ growth rate with that of living vertebrates.
D’Emic contradicts him, saying that we must take the climate into account. Given the fact that the planet was warmer at the time, overheating could have caused problems to their body. Nevertheless, most of them had hollow bones, as well as air sacks in various parts of their body, which are very similar to the ones birds have.
From his point of view, it is inappropriate to separate birds from dinosaurs because “birds are dinosaurs” that have not become extinct.
The new study provides important information for those who want to do more research into dinosaurs’ lifestyle, development and metabolism.
Holly Woodward from the Center of Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University believes this study shows how important the data offered by other published research papers is for the development of theories related to dinosaurs.
This was not the same study published on the matter. A team of CalTech researchers also stated that dinosaurs were warm-blooded creatures in 2011, but the research received mixed reviews. Nowadays, more data and research tools are available to sustain this theory.
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