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Atmospheric O2 Levels and Dinosaur Growth
Dear Dinosaur Experts,
A while ago I had a conversation with Adriana Ocampo and her husband Kevin
Pope, who are geologists studying the Chixulub crater region for the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory. During the conversation, they mentioned that oxygen
levels in the Mesozoic atmosphere fluctuated significantly, sometimes getting
up as high as 35 percent. This information, Kevin said, was gathered by
analyzing air pockets in amber from different time periods. Although, he was
quick to state, the information was far from complete.
The discussion caused me to wonder if the higher levels of oxygen in the
atmosphere could be a contributing factor to an increase in the size of certain
dinosaurs. Although Adriana lent me her notebook of reference materials, I
found few references that indicated the Mesozoic time periods when oxygen
levels were higher and no references to comparisons of increased oxygen levels
and dinosaur growth.
I would appreciate any comments on these questions, and/or information about
publications that address these subjects. If these speculations are totally
off the wall, I would appreciate knowing this, too.
Thanks in advance.
Public Services Office
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive, MS 186-113
Pasadena, California 91109
Phone: 818 354-9314
Fax: 818 393-4641