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directly measuring body temp



there actually is a way to directly measure body temp for extinct animals:
you do 18O analysis for the bone mineral and determine what the
temp was when the bone precipitated.  ok sounds great you say.
now for the flies in the ointment.  you have to prove that the 
O you are measuring is the original O in the bone mineral, rather
than some O that was added secondarily through diagenetic alteration
(i.e. some form of fossilization).  studies such as the analysis of
the T. rex skeleton by Jack Horner and colleagues have just these
problems.  as 18O analysis improves for such old fossils (recall this
technique was pioneered for human fossils and Quaternary mammals!)
the results will improve, but it still depends on finding fossils
with suitable preservation, not an easy task.
b
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bonnie A.B. Blackwell,                          bonn@qcvaxa.acc.qc.edu
Dept of Geology,                                off: (718) 997-3332
Queens College, City University of New York,    fax: (718) 997-3299
Dept of Earth \& Environmental Sciences,        messages: (718) 997-3300
The Graduate Center, CUNY,                      
Flushing, NY, 11367-1597, USA