(ORDO NEWS) — Paleontologists have studied the structure and isotopic composition of the egg shells of Troodon, small bipedal dinosaurs, which helped them prove that these pangolins were warm-blooded and had a body temperature of 42 degrees.
“The isotopic composition of Troodon egg shells is strong evidence that these extinct reptiles had a body temperature of about 42 degrees Celsius.
At the same time, they could reduce it if necessary to about 30 degrees Celsius, which makes Troodon related to modern birds with a similar ability,” – said a researcher at the University of Frankfurt (Germany) Mattia Tagliavento, whose words are quoted by the press service of the university.
In recent years, scientists’ ideas about the appearance of many types of dinosaurs have undergone changes.
In particular, paleontologists now suggest that these reptiles were fast-running feathered and warm-blooded creatures, and not the clumsy scaly and cold-blooded lizards that movies of the last century depict them.
Tagliavento and his colleagues discovered the first signs that troodons were among the warm-blooded dinosaurs.
They are small bipedal dinosaurs 1-2 meters tall and weighing several tens of kilograms, which lived at the end of the Cretaceous period in the territory of the future New World. Now scientists suggest that Troodon had plumage and were omnivorous reptiles.
Warm-blooded and collective reptiles
European and Canadian researchers have become interested in how similar Troodon eggs are to those of birds and other reptiles, including crocodiles and turtles.
To do this, the team studied the structure of the fossilized eggs of these dinosaurs, and also measured the proportion of heavy oxygen-18 in their shells.
As the scientists explain, the concentration of this isotope in the shell depends on the temperature at which it was formed.
As shown by comparing these data with the results of similar measurements for birds and modern reptiles, troodon were warm-blooded living creatures.
This was reflected in the fact that their egg shells were almost always formed at a temperature of 42 degrees Celsius, which makes them look like birds rather than alligators and turtles.
On the other hand, analysis of the shell structure of Troodon eggs indicated that the eggs of these dinosaurs formed much more slowly than those of birds, which is why the size of typical Troodon clutches was from 4 to 6 eggs.
As paleontologists suggest, this was due to the fact that Troodon did not have those evolutionary adaptations that help birds quickly lay eggs.
“This discovery was of particular interest to us because Troodon fossil nests typically contain significantly more eggs, about two dozen, characteristic of modern ostriches,” summed up Tagliavento.
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