Sunday, May 20, 2012

Too big to be cute

The title, which references yesterday's post, suggests that the bulk of the typical dinosaur kept it from being cuddly - except as a plush toy - but if you need further proof, consider these recently revealed details about the extinct giants:

They were achy:
British scientist Dr. Judyth Sassoon noticed signs of a degenerative condition in the jaw joint of a pliosaur in the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery and says, "In the same way that aging humans develop arthritic hips, this old lady developed an arthritic jaw, and survived with her disability for some time. But an unhealed fracture on the jaw indicates that at some time the jaw weakened and eventually broke. With a broken jaw, the pliosaur would not have been able to feed and that final accident probably led to her demise."
They were gassy:
Scottish professor Graeme Ruxton of St. Andrews University has put forward the notion that vegetarian dinosaurs contributed greatly to climate change. According to the math of his research team, the flatulence of an argentinosaurus measuring 140' and weighing 90 tons - which would have consumed at least a half a ton of food each day - would have totaled thousands of liters of greenhouse gas.Team member David Wilkinson says, "In fact, our calculations suggest these dinosaurs may have produced more methane than all the modern sources, natural and human, put together."

They were flea-ridden:
Chinese researchers have found evidence that pterosaurs suffered from enormous blood-sucking parasites. "These were insects much larger than modern fleas and from the size of their proboscis we can tell they would have been mean," comments American zoologist George Poinar.

Set aside your romantic notion of prehistoric fauna and think stinky, itchy, and creaky...
This post may also interest you:
Not Dracula, but a dragon

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