London: A new study on holes in fossil bones have supported the theory that dinosaurs were warm-blooded and highly active creatures, rather than cold-blooded and sluggish.
Human thighbones have tiny holes – known as the ‘nutrient foramen’ – on the shaft that supply blood to living bone cells inside.
Recent study has shown that the size of those holes is related to the maximum rate that a person can be active during aerobic exercise.
Professor Roger Seymour from the University of Adelaide’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences used this principle to evaluate the activity levels of dinosaurs.
“My aim was to see whether we could use fossil bones of dinosaurs to indicate the level of bone metabolic rate and possibly extend it to the whole body’s metabolic rate,” he stated.
The sizes of the holes in mammals were compared to those of fossil dinosaurs.
Dr Don Henderson, Curator of Dinosaurs from the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta, Canada, and Daniela Schwarz-Wings from the Museum fur Naturkunde and Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, measured the holes in 10 species of dinosaur from five different groups, including bipedal and quadrupedal carnivores and herbivores, weighing 50kg to 20,000kg.
“On a relative comparison to eliminate the differences in body size, all of the dinosaurs had holes in their thigh bones larger than those of mammals,” said Seymour.
“The dinosaurs appeared to be even more active than the mammals. We certainly didn’t expect to see that.
“These results provide additional weight to theories that dinosaurs were warm-blooded and highly active creatures, rather than cold-blooded and sluggish,” he concluded
The results will be published this month in Proceedings B, the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.