Say goodbye to the days when we all knew dinosaurs were cold-blooded wonderlizards who lazed about trying to warm up in the midday sun. U.S. and German scientists have developed a technique for accurately measuring the body temperature of dinosaurs. The study of 11 fossilized sauropod teeth reveal that the Brachiosaurus ran a toasty 38.2ºC (about 100.8ºF) while the Camasaurus, a slightly smaller but related sauropod, tipped the mercury to 35.7ºC (96.3ºF).
So what does this mean? John Eiler, a professor of geology and geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and co-author of the study, weighs in on the implications.
“It’s reasonable to surmise that their enzymes were working efficiently, because they were at a temperature that we know that animal enzymes operate efficiently at and therefore they should have been more vigorous,” he said. “What we don’t know is whether they had the metabolic machinery to regenerate energy efficiently the way mammals and birds do, and therefore have endurance.”
Given this kind of development in dinosaur biology, I think it’s clearer all the time that we barely understand anything about our favorite prehistoric creatures. Of course, every big breakthrough like this puts us one step closer to a pet miniature Stegosaurus, and I’m all for that.