June 14, 2014

Were non-avian dinosaurs warm-blooded or cold-blooded animals?

Non-avian dinosaurs: Image from Wikimedia Commons
For a long time people have wondered if extinct dinosaurs were cold-blooded or warm-blooded. Actually, new research published in the journal Science reveals that they were probably neither...and both.

"Most dinosaurs were probably mesothermic," said University of New Mexico lead researcher John Grady. "A thermally intermediate strategy that only a few species, such as egg-laying echidnas or great white sharks, use today."

A mesothermic animal can generate body heat and move quickly, but doesn't have to eat as much as a completely warm-blooded animal. In a way, it can operate like a fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle.