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Forget bird-brained

Fossil find uncovers new species of meat-eating dinosaur that had birdlike lungs

By
6:31pm, September 29, 2008
Paleontologists have discovered a new species of carnivorous dinosaur that possessed an interesting feature: It breathed like a bird.

Unlike mammals, birds have evolved a highly efficient system of breathing in which multiple bellows, or air sacs, in the rib cage push oxygen-rich air through a fixed lung.

The fossils from this new dinosaur — called Aerosteon riocoloradensis, which means air bones from the Río Colorado, the Argentine river near where they were found — show characteristically avian features, including air-filled bones in the rib cage that show the hallmark imprints of air sacs, the team reports online September 30 in PLoS ONE.

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