Most kids, and a few of us “older” kids, may think dinos are way cool. But a new study says no: they were hot, as in hot-blooded. And that may go for some of the larger ones:
Nature — From museums to Hollywood films, dinosaurs are portrayed as highly active animals, but how they maintained this lifestyle isn’t clear. For decades, palaeontologists have debated whether the physiology of non-avian dinosaurs was akin to that of today’s cold-blooded reptiles or warm-blooded mammals. An important clue has now been uncovered — not in Triceratops and its relatives, but in herbivorous mammals.
Part of the reason dinos are so fascinating is because they are unlike any animals we know of today. Some dinos may have been a little bird-like, others more like modern day reptiles. But using birds and lizards to understand the diversity played out over 150 million years of dino evolution would be like trying to understand everything from snow leopards to blue whales when the only living mammals you had ever seen were tree sloths and fruit bats. There are certainly similarities between bats and leopards, more so than say, tigers and garden snails. But bats and sloths would only get you so far.
To understand the behavior of animals never observed, understanding their basic metabolism is critical. This study and others like may shed light on that, and bring the vast constellation of those extinct critters we call dinosaurs a tiny bit closer to life in the process.