Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Birds and Dinosaurs

Totally cool science in a recent issue of Nature, as we learn of new evidence that the pulmonary systems of dinosaurs likely resembled those of modern birds more than they did modern reptiles. From the summary in the Harvard Gazette:

"This paper shows that predatory dinosaurs had a pulmonary system with the potential to support elevated rates of metabolism, higher than what we typically associate with 'cold-blooded' reptiles," said co-author Leon P.A.M. Claessens, who received a Ph.D. from Harvard in organismic and evolutionary biology last month and will join the faculty at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., this fall. "The pulmonary system of meat-eating dinosaurs such as T. rex in fact shares many structural similarities with that of modern birds, which, from an engineering point of view, may possess the most efficient respiratory system of any living vertebrate inhabiting the land or sky."
As if avian flu didn't already have me suspicious of our winged friends.

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