Dinosaur fossils predict body temperatures

James F. Gillooly*, Andrew P. Allen, Eric L. Charnov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Perhaps the greatest mystery surrounding dinosaurs concerns whether they were endotherms, ectotherms, or some unique intermediate form. Here we present a model that yields estimates of dinosaur body temperature based on ontogenetic growth trajectories obtained from fossil bones. The model predicts that dinosaur body temperatures increased with body mass from approximately 25 degrees C at 12 kg to approximately 41 degrees C at 13,000 kg. The model also successfully predicts observed increases in body temperature with body mass for extant crocodiles. These results provide direct evidence that dinosaurs were reptiles that exhibited inertial homeothermy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1467-1469
Number of pages3
JournalPLoS Biology
Volume4
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2006. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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