Dinosaurs refuse to be put into a cage. A new study is out trying to answer the question if the creatures that roamed the earth for over 100 million years were either warm-blooded or cold-blooded. Turns out, it’s neither. They went for that happy middle.
So, the animals did not have the metabolic rates of either cold-blooded reptiles or warm-blooded mammals or birds. John Hammond’s T-Rex went her own way.
Brian Enquist, the chief evolutionary biologist and ecologist spoke to Reuters on about the study. “Our results showed that dinosaurs had growth and metabolic rates that were actually not characteristic of warm-blooded or even cold-blooded organisms. They did not act like mammals or birds nor did they act like reptiles or fish.”
In recent years, scientists have hypothesized that dinosaurs fell into the warm-blooded category thanks to the discovery of super-predators like the Velociraptor. This study took fossils of 21 species of dinosaurs and measured the bone deposits in the fossils.
The new term being tossed out to describe dinosaurs is mesotherms. Ectotherms refer to cold-blooded animals, while endotherms are warm-blooded. That T-Rex went to the goldilocks standard of just right.
Being mesothermic, dinosaurs were able to grow larger than any other animal and dominate their ecosystem. At least until that asteroid hit. By having a metabolic rate in the middle, dinosaurs could draw on metabolic generated heat when exposed to extreme external temperatures.
If you want to read the entire study, head over to the journal Science. And throw on Jurassic Park for a bit of nostalgia. Or, you can YouTube the Jeff Goldblum Jurassic Park laugh.