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NYT Follow-up on Scipionyx
Following up on the article in last week's Science Times on Scipionyx
the turbocharged coldblood, here's a letter from Julian Kane to the
Science Times on the article (copyright in The New York Times, of
* * *
Dissecting Dinosaur Theory
To the Editor:
The remarkable baby Scipionyx dinosaur fossil showing well-preserved
internal organs ("Turning Dinosaur Theory on Its Paleobiological
Tail," Jan. 26) may help resolve the debate over whether dinosaurs
were warmblooded or cold-blooded by a method other than comparing the
position of the colon, which in Scipionyx is high and close to the
spinal column as in modern coldblooded crocodiles.
What appears to be a heart is located in the photograph forward of an
organ identified as a preserved liver.
If the unidentified structure actually is a fossilized heart, careful
analysis of its interior may reveal whether it is four-chambered, as
are all living warmblooded vertebrates (birds and mammals), or
three-chambered, as are all living coldblooded reptiles (crocodiles,
lizards, snakes and lizards).
Short of finding some temperature-indicating structure in fossils and
modern vertebrates that has not yet been discovered (Jurassic
thermometers are highly unreliable) the tell-tale fossil heart of an
extinct dinosaur may finally end the dinosaur body-temperature
Great Neck, N.Y.
"You are interested in the unknown, the mysterious, the unexplainable -- that
is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing you the full
story of what happened ... on that fateful day."
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