While the warm-blooded vs. cold-blooded argument rages, from New Scientist:
Robert Eagle of the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues estimated the body temperature of two types of dinosaur by analysing fossil eggshells. They found that Titanosaurus, a long-necked sauropod around 10 metres long and 13 tonnes in weight, had a body temperature around 38 ̊C, similar to modern mammals.
On the other hand, Oviraptor, a theropod about 2 metres long and 35 kilograms in weight, had a body temperature around 32 ̊C. This is still warmer than crocodiles and their relatives, suggesting that oviraptors generated some heat internally to keep their bodies above the ambient temperature and allow them to be more active. But it also suggests their physiology was not fully warm-blooded, which would require much more energy to maintain.
It would be interesting to see whether consistent warmer body temperatures can be generally associated with more “mammalian” behaviour.
See, for example,
Maiasaura was a large, plant-eating, duck-billed dinosaur. Maiasaura was the first dinosaur that was found alongside its young, eggs, and nests. This suggests that Maiasaura nurtured its young.
On the other hand, ‘gators do too. Early days yet.
The finding is significant because larger animals are better able to retain heat and so would be expected to have higher body temperatures. Previous studies that suggested this was true of dinosaurs don’t necessarily indicate that they generated heat internally like mammals. More.
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