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News Item: "Tiny Marsupials Breathe Through Their Skin"
Not exactly dino-related, but it certainly has thermo-physiology
implications, regarding the relationship between metabolism and an
external embryo's (e.g., marsupial's/dinosaur's) oxygen consumption:
An interesting paper came out (this week's _Nature_) that discusses the
joys of having glandular skin. Apparently, if a mammal is the size of a
grain of rice (external embryo), it can effectively breathe through it's
skin (because of a high surface area-to-volume ratio?). Wallets,
purses, dog chew-toys, and now this. What other uses for mammalian skin
will be discovered in the future?
Excerpt from ABC News:
" ?They didn?t have coordinated respiratory movements,? he <Dr. Jacopo
Mortola> says. ?You don?t see [their] thoraxes collapsing, expanding,
collapsing, expanding. Then you wonder, how can the air get in in a
reliable way? And, in fact, it doesn?t.? Not through their lungs,
anyway. Newborn Julia Creek dunnarts breathe through their skins."
More can be read online here: