Keeping warm, old-school

Speaking of ice and snow, were dinosaurs warm-blooded or cold-blooded? A new study of polar dinosaurs suggests the question may be based on a false dichotomy. Studying growth rings in fossil bones, David Fastovsky of the University of Rhode Island found that different dinosaurs coped with seasonal temperature fluctations in different ways -- ways which don’t exactly match the strategies used by modern animals.

This should come as no surprise. Modern vertebrates have something like 12 different ways of regulating body temperature, a spectrum which does not divide cleanly into two simple camps of “warm-blooded” and “cold-blooded.” No doubt dinosaurs also evolved their own range of coping mechanisms, some of which may be very different from those used today.

Earlier discussion of this topic on Science Buzz can be found here.

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