Fossilized eggs suggest that dinosaurs were ‘decisively’ warm-blooded

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Credit: AlonzoDesign / Getty Images

The mysteries surrounding dinosaurs have fascinated generations of scholars and lay people alike. A group of Israeli scientists, led by Prof. Hagit Affek at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Earth Sciences, has tackled one of the most pressing questions regarding the giant creatures that populated the earth for millions of years: whether dinosaurs were cold- or warm-blooded. The team’s research places them decisively in the second category.

The issue has far-reaching implications. The latter group, also known as endothermic animals, can generate their own body heat, causing them to consume more energy but equipping them better against climate changes, while the former, exothermic animals, rely on the sun and external conditions for warmth – and at the same time, require less energy and therefore less food.

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As explained in a study published in Science Advances on Friday, the team employed an innovative method to measure historical temperatures, by analyzing chemical bonds among heavy isotopes in calcium carbonate minerals present in dinosaur egg shells. … Through analyzing fossilized eggs from three species of dinosaurs, the scientists came to the conclusion that their body temperatures were between 35°-40°. Human body temperature usually ranges between 36.5°-37.5°.

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