Scientists Can't Agree if Dinosaurs Were Warm-Blooded or Cold-Blooded

By Chris Mills on at

Palaeontologists have spent a vast amount of time digging up dinosaur fossils, studying them, and then slating Jurassic Park. But despite the effort, some questions still remain about our predecessors on this planet. That includes whether or not they were cold-blooded.

One of the most recent papers to tackle this question was a 2014 study, published in Science, which came to the rather middle-of-the-road conclusion that dinosaurs were mesotherms, somewhere between warm- and cold-blooded. But, as Live Science documents in an excellent article, some scientists aren’t happy with the conclusions.

The study involved counting rings in fossilised dinosaur bones, which show signs of ageing in rings, just like trees. By examining the growth rate of dinosaurs, and comparing it to that of modern-day warm- and cold-blooded animals, the team came to the conclusion that dinosaurus were mesotherms, a conclusion that is challenged by Michael D’Emic, the author of a new study. He contends that the original authors didn’t analyse the data correctly, and that dinosaurs were really warm-blooded, just like mammals.

Naturally, the authors didn’t agree with his suggestions. The full back-and-forth, including some excellent (but very polite) scientific trash-talk, is over on Live Science, and is well worth a read. [Live Science]