Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dinosaur Discovery

The marvels of dentistry continue...scientists are now using dinosaur teeth to help answer a hotly debated question: Were dinosaurs cold- or warm-blooded?

By measuring the concentrations  of certain minerals in the fossil teeth of two of the largest dinosaur species, the Brachiosaurus and Camarasaurus (found in different locations in the US and Tanzania), scientists found that the body temperature of the animals was  much higher than that of other reptiles -- and was actually comparable to that of mammals.  

This new approach, which measures rare carbon and oxygen particles that clump and form minerals in the teeth called bioapatites, is able to determine body temperature within one or two degrees!  

This research suggests that dinosaurs were warmer than previously thought, and were probably able to reduce body heat similarly to mammels.
Scientists hope to use the “tooth mineral method” to study other extinct species in order to find out more about how they evolved.

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