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Dinos straddled line between cold- and warm-blooded

Ancient creatures’ metabolisms were more like those of tuna, not birds or reptiles

9:54am, June 13, 2014

MIDDLE OF THE PACK  Dinosaurs’ metabolisms fit somewhere in between cold-blooded reptiles and warm-blooded mammals and birds, a new analysis of growth rate and energy-use data suggests.

Dinosaurs weren’t quite like cold-blooded reptiles, but they weren’t like warm-blooded birds either. Instead, they fell smack-dab in the middle.

Comparisons with modern animals reveal that dinosaurs’ metabolisms probably resembled those of great white sharks, researchers report in the June 13 Science.

The findings offer new clues into how the animals lived and also rekindle a longstanding debate. “This paper will make us go back to the drawing board,” says paleobiologist Martin Sander of the University of Bonn in Germany.

For years, paleontologists assumed that dinosaurs most resembled modern reptiles and other cold-blooded creatures — slow-growing, low-energy sluggards that bask in sunlight for heat and don’t need much food. “When I was a kid, dinosaurs were just scaled-up, tail-dragging reptilian brutes,” says paleobiologist

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