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Ice Age Mammals - Surprisingly Warm

  • 26-05-2010 11:21pm
    Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭ Galvasean

    An incredible new technique has allowed scientists to calculate the body temperatures of animals that have not lived for thousands of years and even some from several million years ago.
    The method, described in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has already revealed the body heat of an extinct rhinoceros (97.8 degrees Fahrenheit), an extinct alligator (86.7 degrees Fahrenheit) and woolly mammoths, which disappeared from most of their range about 10,000 years ago.

    Woolly mammoths were a toasty 100 degrees Fahrenheit

    It is also speculated that in the not too distant future the same technique may be used to calculate the body temperature dinosaurs that lived many millions of years ago! This could very well put the warm/cold blooded debate to rest forever.
    the researchers believe the method could next be used on dinosaur remains.

    "The first thing that we could learn is whether dinosaurs had body temperature in the range of 26 to 30 Celsius (78.8 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit), which is the range of temperatures we have seen with our technique for modern and extinct alligators and crocodiles," Eagle said. "If we got temperatures in that range, they would strongly suggest cold-bloodedness."

    "If we got temperatures of 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit or more, then it would suggest that dinosaurs were not similar to alligators and crocodiles," he continued, but added that result might not mean dinosaurs were truly warm-blooded. Dinosaurs could have just experienced high body temperatures due to their often large body mass that might have retained more heat.

    Want to know how they did it? Check it out here.

    Image by Brian Ajhar