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Dinosaurs: New study counters age-old theory

says. "This is impossible for at least three reasons. First, it would be difficult to fit such a heart in the available space; second, the heart would use more energy than the entire remainder of the body, and third; the thick walls would be mechanically so inefficient that they would expend more energy deforming themselves than in actually pumping the blood."

There only two viable solutions to the dinosaurs blood pressure problem, Dr Seymour says: either they were restricted to holding their necks horizontally, that they were cold-blooded animals with low blood flow rates.

"We admit that they could have had a vertical neck, with blood supplied from a smaller heart, but only if they had a low metabolic rate typical of a cold-blooded reptile. Even in this case, however, the heart wall still would have been relatively thick and inefficient for pumping.

"The question whether dinosaurs were warm or cold-blooded has been debated over the last 30 years, but the metabolic rates of sauropods will probably never be known with certainty. In either case, it appears unlikely that these animals lifted their heads high as commonly depicted."


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Contact: Dr. Roger Seymour
roger.seymour@adelaide.edu.au
61-88-303-5596
Adelaide University
23-Oct-2000


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