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When the first warm-blooded dinosaurs roamed the Earth

When the first warm-blooded dinosaurs roamed the Earth

Scientists once thought that dinosaurs They were cold-blooded, lethargic creatures. Subsequent research suggested that some of them were capable of controlling their body temperature, but when and how this change occurred remained a mystery.

Now, a new study estimates that the first warm-blooded dinosaurs were able to roam the face of the Earth about 180 million years ago, roughly halfway through the period in which these animals inhabited the planet.

Warm-blooded creatures—including birds, which are descended from dinosaurs, as well as humans—maintain a constant body temperature regardless of whether their environment warms or cools. Cold-blooded animals, including reptiles such as snakes and lizards, rely on external sources to control their temperature, such as lying in the sun to warm themselves.

Knowing when dinosaurs managed to evolve their stable internal thermometer could help scientists answer other questions about how they lived, and how active and social they were.

To calculate the origin of the first warm-blooded dinosaurs, researchers analyzed more than 1,000 fossils, climate models, and dinosaur family trees. They found that two major groups of dinosaurs—including Tyrannosaurus rex, velociraptors, and some relatives of the triceratops—migrated to cooler regions during the early Jurassic period, indicating that they may have developed the ability to keep warm. A third group of dinosaurs, including brontosauruses, stayed in warmer areas.

“If something is capable of living in Arcticor in very cold regions, it must have some way to heat itself,” said Alfio Allesandro Chiarenza, one of the authors of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at University College London.

Jasmina Wiemann, a postdoctoral fellow at the Field Museum in Chicago, said a dinosaur’s location is not the only way to determine whether it was warm-blooded. Research by Wiemann, who was not involved in the latest study, indicates that warm-blooded dinosaurs may have evolved closer to the early stages of their time on Earth, about 250 million years ago.

He said collecting clues from different aspects of dinosaurs’ lives, such as their body temperature and diet, can help scientists get a clearer picture of when they evolved into warm-blooded animals.

It may interest you

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  • How plesiosaurs swam
  • Footprints found in Spain show carnivorous dinosaurs were fast and furious

Source: Gestion

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