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Re: Hot-blooded dinos

At 12:56 PM 6/28/95, Stan Friesen wrote:
> From: pwillis@ozemail.com.au (Paul Willis)
> > Crocs and turtles are also known from the Victorian sites. While both also
> > have known abilities for hybernation, or at least a torpid state, neither
> > use this as a stratergy to survive in arctic conditions.
>We are talking more cool temperate/maritime, by modern standards.
>No hard freezes, just persistant frost, and only in the winter.
>It is true that the crocs would have had to have a different life
>style that modern ones to deal with that - but winter torpor *could*
>accomplish what is needed.

        The climate was certainly warmer in the Mesozoic at the poles:
likely there were no ice caps, and the land masses towards the poles
supported a temperate forest not unlike that of northwest US and western
Canada at the time.  However, another interesting aspect of this is that
while the climate wa warmer and supported a climate probably fine and dandy
to most dinosaurs, the solar cycles weren't any different than today.  That
is, towards the poles, they still had 6 months of sun, 6 months of dark.
How _that_ affected plant life in these regions is an interesting question:
did the plants "shut down" while there was little or no light for
photosynthesis?  No food at the base of the food chain doesn't make for a
happy ecosystem, so I wonder if the animals stuck around for that.  If they
did, it's another interesting thing to ponder dinosaurs coping with long
months of darkness (obviously some modern animals do it, so it isn't
impossible, but it's interesting!)

Jerry D. Harris
Denver Museum of Natural History
2001 Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO  80205
(303) 370-6403
Internet:  jdharris@teal.csn.net
CompuServe:  73132,3372

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