Carnivorous dinosaurs that roamed the Earth millions of years ago might have been cold-hearted killers, but they were also warm-blooded creatures, Professor Roger Seymour at the University of Adelaide claims.
The researcher explains that, had they been cold-blooded animals, dinosaurs would have had very little chances to survive, let alone thrive on our planet.
The professor argues that, in order for dinosaurs to be able to prey on the animals they shared their natural habitats with and dominate over mammals, their bodies must have packed tremendous amounts of muscle power.
Besides, they must have been capable of great endurance, Roger Seymour goes on to say.
Muscle power and great endurance come easier for warm-blooded animals than they do for cold-blooded ones.
Therefore, the University of Adelaide scientist is convinced that, from an evolutionary standpoint, it would have made more sense for dinosaurs to be more like birds and mammals, and less like reptiles.
Other researchers have argued that dinosaurs could have gotten the strength they needed to dominate almost all other animal species by basking in the sun, much like crocodiles do nowadays.
“They say that large, cold-blooded dinosaurs could have done the same and enjoyed a warm body temperature without the need to generate the heat in their own cells through burning food energy like warm-blooded animals,” Professor Seymour details.
The problem is that, as strong as a crocodile-like dinosaur could have been after lying in the sun for several hours, it still would not have been a match for a mammal-like dinosaur of a similar size.
“The results further show that cold-blooded crocodiles lack not only the absolute power for exercise, but also the endurance, that are evident in warm-blooded mammals.”
“So, despite the impression that saltwater crocodiles are extremely powerful animals, a crocodile-like dinosaur could not compete well against a mammal-like dinosaur of the same size,” Roger Seymour says.
The Professor details his beliefs that dinosaurs were warm-blooded creatures in a paper recently published in the journal PLOS ONE.