Monday, May 7, 2012

Global Warming in the Age of Dinosaurs

My guess is that both Congressmen and comedians (Is there any difference?) will have a field day with this; but it appears that the latest issue of Current Biology offers up some interesting food for thought (so to speak) about global warming in the distant past. Here is how the BBC Nature Web site reported this latest scientific insight:
Giant dinosaurs could have warmed the planet with their flatulence, say researchers. 
British scientists have calculated the methane output of sauropods, including the species known as Brontosaurus. 
By scaling up the digestive wind of cows, they estimate that the population of dinosaurs - as a whole - produced 520 million tonnes of gas annually. 
They suggest the gas could have been a key factor in the warm climate 150 million years ago. 
David Wilkinson from Liverpool John Moore's University, and colleagues from the University of London and the University of Glasgow published their results in the journal Current Biology.
To give that productivity factor some context, Wilkinson estimates that the metric tonnage of methane due to cows comes in at between 50 and 100 million. Could this provide inspiration for the next film in the Jurassic Park franchise?

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