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New York Times
DINOSAURS AS THEY LIVED AND BREATHED
from The New York Times
In their long efforts to breathe life into dinosaurs, so famously extinct
all but human fancy, scientists may have been wrong about the position of
the nostrils through which these huge reptiles breathed, smelled,
body temperature and generally nosed around the Mesozoic landscape.
An anatomist and paleontologist at Ohio University, in Athens, comparing
dinosaur skull fossils and the physiology of their closest living
has concluded that the fleshy nostrils were near the tip of the dinosaur's
long snout, not higher up and closer to the eyes, as had been widely
for more than a century.
The new conclusions about the position of the nostrils could be important
understanding how dinosaurs found food and detected menacing predators or
desirable mates and how they attained such enormous sizes. The position of
the nostrils has a bearing on the organization of the entire respiratory
system. And, of course, it alters ideas about how dinosaurs looked.
The scientist, Dr. Lawrence M. Witmer, is reporting the findings in
issue of the journal Science. Other dinosaur specialists endorsed the
research, financed by the National Science Foundation. They said the
placement of the nostrils made so much sense that they were surprised no
had recognized it sooner.