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More warm blood



Today's New York Times has a story on research by William Showers and Reese 
Barrick of North Carolina State University. They say that isotope ratios in 
oxygen from phosphate in tyrannosaur bones indicates that the critter was 
warm-blooded. 

The bones, from the Hell Creek Formation, have some organic preservation (at 
least that's what it sounds like the newspaper article is saying) and 
contained enough phosphate for Showers and Reese to get isotope ratios from 
different parts of the animal -- both core and extremities. The ratios are 
similar throughout the animal, which indicates that the living animals' body 
temperature was the same at the core and in the extremities. This, Showers and
Reese argue in a paper in Science, indicates warm-bloodedness.

My question for this list's savants is: Does the pattern indicate homeothermy,
or just a high body temperature? In other words, is the finding consistent 
with gigantothermy or any of the other hypotheses discussed here lately?

Tom Waters
Earth magazine
72350.1764@compuserve.com