An analysis of the 80-million-year-old Titanosaur eggshells revealed that most dinosaurs' body temperatures varied extensively, a new study says. Researchers found that most dinosaurs could increase their body temperatures because of the heat present in their surroundings, while some had lower body temperatures which linked modern birds to their ancestry.

Scientists have been wondering how dinosaurs' activity levels influenced their body temperatures. Researchers discovered that dinosaurs with high body temperatures were possibly active and energetic predators, while dinosaurs with lower body temperatures were possibly less active.

In a study issued in the journal Nature Communications, researchers assessed the chemistry of eggshells from a female Titanosaur by determining the possible temperature during periods of ovulation. They discovered that Titanosaur eggshells had a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit which was similar to modern endotherms. They had also found that Oviraptors' body temperatures were at least 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Endotherms are animals that can produce heat they need internally, something that warm-blooded mammals can do. Birds are also endotherms, and scientists believe that dinosaurs were the ancestors of birds. Meanwhile, ectotherms are cold-blooded animals that get heat from their environment.

Scientists also examined fossil soils in Mongolia in the area where the Oviraptors had supposedly built their nests. Through this, they estimated that the temperature before dinosaur extinction was 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

They had also taken the measurements of the heavy isotopes oxygen-18 and carbon-13, which formed a bond depending on the temperature. Robert Eagle, lead researcher, said that C-13 and O-18 are found less at hot temperatures, and more at cold temperatures.

"It's important to realize that there's actually a whole sliding scale of physiology," said Eagle. He explained that results showed that some dinosaurs were not fully endotherms. He said that some dinosaurs may be classified as intermediate, or species that are in the spectrum between modern reptiles and modern birds.

Aradhna Tripati, co-author of the study, said that because Oviraptors' body temperatures were higher than the temperature in the environment, they might have been intermediate as well.

Researchers hope that further studies will connect the link between the evolutionary lineages of birds to dinosaurs, and that they will be able to understand how those animals' metabolisms had sped up so quickly.

"There's just a massive spectrum of different questions we can ask now," added Eagle.

Photo : GorissenM | Flickr

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