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Dinosaur Body Temperatures Determined from Isotopic (^(13)C-^(18)O) Ordering in Fossil Biominerals

Eagle, Robert A. and Tütken, Thomas and Martin, Taylor S. and Tripati, Aradhna K. and Fricke, Henry C. and Connely, Melissa and Cifelli, Richard L. and Eiler, John M. (2011) Dinosaur Body Temperatures Determined from Isotopic (^(13)C-^(18)O) Ordering in Fossil Biominerals. Science, 333 (6041). pp. 443-445. ISSN 0036-8075.

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The nature of the physiology and thermal regulation of the nonavian dinosaurs is the subject of debate. Previously, arguments have been made for both endothermic and ectothermic metabolisms on the basis of differing methodologies. We used clumped isotope thermometry to determine body temperatures from the fossilized teeth of large Jurassic sauropods. Our data indicate body temperatures of 36° to 38°C, which are similar to those of most modern mammals. This temperature range is 4° to 7°C lower than predicted by a model that showed scaling of dinosaur body temperature with mass, which could indicate that sauropods had mechanisms to prevent excessively high body temperatures being reached because of their gigantic size.

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Additional Information:© 2011 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 28 March 2011; accepted 3 June 2011. Published online 23 June 2011. R.A.E. and J.M.E. are funded by National Science Foundation grant EAR-1024929. T.T. is funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) grants TU 148/2-1 and TU 148/4-1. A.K.T. is supported by the Division of Physical Sciences at UCLA and National Science Foundation grant EAR-0949191. We thank the Utah Museum of Natural History, the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, the Berlin Museum für Naturkunde, the Aathal Dinosaurier Museum, D. Chure at Dinosaur National Monument, and the Wyoming Dinosaur International Society for the provision of specimens for analysis. We thank D. Schwarz-Wings for specimen identification and D. Goodreau for curatorial assistance. We also thank the stable isotope laboratories at Tübingen and Lyon for conducting phosphate d18O measurements. Lastly, thanks to J. Gillooly for provision of published data. This is contribution number 113 of the DFG Research Unit 533 “Biology of the Sauropod Dinosaurs: The Evolution of Gigantism.” R.A.E. designed the project and experiments, performed the experiments, analyzed the data, and wrote the manuscript. J.M.E. and A.K.T. assisted with experimental design and data interpretation. Clumped isotope analyses were conducted in the lab of J.M.E. T.T. provided samples for the study, conducted phosphate oxygen isotope analysis, and assisted with data interpretation. T.S.M. assisted with isotope measurements and petrographic analyses. H.C.F., M.C., and R.L.C. provided samples for analysis and insights into the provenance of samples and data interpretation.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)TU 148/2-1
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)TU 148/4-1
UCLA Division of Physical SciencesUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6041
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110802-130331405
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Official Citation:Dinosaur Body Temperatures Determined from Isotopic (13C-18O) Ordering in Fossil Biominerals Robert A. Eagle, Thomas Tütken, Taylor S. Martin, Aradhna K. Tripati, Henry C. Fricke, Melissa Connely, Richard L. Cifelli, and John M. Eiler Science 22 July 2011: 443-445.Published online 23 June 2011 [DOI:10.1126/science.1206196]
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:24628
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:02 Aug 2011 22:18
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 02:58

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