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Sauropod cooling



Forgive me if this has been brought up before, but as I was taking a shower
this morning I was struck with an idea of an extremely effective way that
sauropods could keep cool: evaporative cooling.

For those of you not familiar with evaporative cooling, when air blows over
a wet body it carries away with it some of the more energetic (hot) water
molecules leaving behind less energetic (cool) water molecules -- hence the
water molecules left behind have a lower average energy (or temperature).

Evaporative cooling is used by humans when we sweat and dogs when they
pant.  It is also used by humans through "a poor man's air conditioner"
widely called "swamp coolers" where air is blown over a pan of water --
although these were more popular many years ago, I saw a modern version of
one these this past summer at Best Buy.

Sauropods, with their extremely elongated necks and pneumatic construction,
would have a tremendously effective evaporative cooling system as air
passed over the moist membranes of the very long trachea, and, perhaps,
over the walls of air sacs as well.

Van Smith
vksmith@dwx.com
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