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Telltale Dino Heart Hints at Warm Blood

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12:20pm, October 2, 2002

He could tell just by looking that this dame had a heart of stone.

When PI (paleontological investigator) Michael (Mike) Hammer stumbled across the big-eyed dinosaur that he calls Willo on a South Dakota ranch in 1993, he noticed her chest cavity right away. Preserved in the curve of the dinosaur's ribs was a rock that Hammer was convinced was a heart.

The professional fossil collector, who runs Hammer and Hammer Paleotek in Jacksonville, Ore., took the dinosaur in for a medical X-ray scan. The scan confirmed that the beast had a heart with a structure that could finally help dinosaurs beat the rap as cold-blooded killers.

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