Document Detail

Respiratory and reproductive paleophysiology of dinosaurs and early birds.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12794669     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In terms of their diversity and longevity, dinosaurs and birds were/are surely among the most successful of terrestrial vertebrates. Unfortunately, interpreting many aspects of the biology of dinosaurs and the earliest of the birds presents formidable challenges because they are known only from fossils. Nevertheless, a variety of attributes of these taxa can be inferred by identification of shared anatomical structures whose presence is causally linked to specialized functions in living reptiles, birds, and mammals. Studies such as these demonstrate that although dinosaurs and early birds were likely to have been homeothermic, the absence of nasal respiratory turbinates in these animals indicates that they were likely to have maintained reptile-like (ectothermic) metabolic rates during periods of rest or routine activity. Nevertheless, given the metabolic capacities of some extant reptiles during periods of elevated activity, early birds were probably capable of powered flight. Similarly, had, for example, theropod dinosaurs possessed aerobic metabolic capacities and habits equivalent to those of some large, modern tropical latitude lizards (e.g., Varanus), they may well have maintained significant home ranges and actively pursued and killed large prey. Additionally, this scenario of active, although ectothermic, theropod dinosaurs seems reinforced by the likely utilization of crocodilian-like, diaphragm breathing in this group. Finally, persistent in vivo burial of their nests and apparent lack of egg turning suggests that clutch incubation by dinosaurs was more reptile- than birdlike. Contrary to previous suggestions, there is little if any reliable evidence that some dinosaur young may have been helpless and nestbound (altricial) at hatching.
John A Ruben; Terry D Jones; Nicholas R Geist
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Physiological and biochemical zoology : PBZ     Volume:  76     ISSN:  1522-2152     ISO Abbreviation:  Physiol. Biochem. Zool.     Publication Date:    2003 Mar-Apr
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-06-09     Completed Date:  2003-10-07     Revised Date:  2005-11-16    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100883369     Medline TA:  Physiol Biochem Zool     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  141-64     Citation Subset:  IM    
Zoology Department, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-2914, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
Birds / physiology*
Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
Dinosaurs / physiology*
Energy Metabolism / physiology*
Oxygen Consumption / physiology
Reproduction / physiology*
Turbinates / anatomy & histology

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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