Navigation Links
Gaseous emissions from dinosaurs may have warmed prehistoric earth
Date:5/7/2012

Sauropod dinosaurs could in principle have produced enough of the greenhouse gas methane to warm the climate many millions of years ago, at a time when the Earth was warm and wet. That's according to calculations reported in the May 8th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

The hulking sauropods, distinctive for their enormous size and unusually long necks, were widespread about 150 million years ago. As in cows, methane-producing microbes aided the sauropods' digestion by fermenting their plant food.

"A simple mathematical model suggests that the microbes living in sauropod dinosaurs may have produced enough methane to have an important effect on the Mesozoic climate," said Dave Wilkinson of Liverpool John Moores University. "Indeed, our calculations suggest that these dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sourcesboth natural and man-madeput together."

Wilkinson and study coauthor Graeme Ruxton from the University of St Andrews were studying sauropod ecology when a question dawned on them: If modern cows produce enough methane gas to be of interest to climate scientists, what about sauropods? They teamed up with methane expert Euan Nisbet at the University of London to work out the numbers.

"Clearly, trying to estimate this for animals that are unlike anything living has to be a bit of an educated guess," Wilkinson said.

Animal physiologists have studied methane production from a range of modern animals to derive equations that predict methane production from animals of different sizes. It turns out that those calculations depend only on the total mass of the animals in question. A medium-sized sauropod weighed something like 20,000 kilograms, and sauropods lived in densities ranging from a few large adults to a few tens of individuals per square kilometer.

Wilkinson, Ruxton, and Nisbet therefore calculate global methane emissions from sauropods to have been 520 million tons (520 Tg) per year, comparable to total modern methane emissions. Before industry took off on modern Earth about 150 years ago, methane emissions were roughly 200 Tg per year. By comparison, modern ruminant animals, including cows, goats, giraffes, and others, produce methane emission of 50 to 100 Tg per year.

The study's conclusions not only show "just how strange and wonderful the workings of the planet are" but also serve as a useful reminder for the importance of microbes and methane for global climate, the researchers say.


'/>"/>

Contact: Elisabeth (Lisa) Lyons
elyons@cell.com
617-386-2121
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Seabird ammonia emissions contribute to atmospheric acidity
2. Are we trading energy conservation for toxic air emissions?
3. Emissions rising faster this decade than last
4. Fingerprinting method tracks mercury emissions from coal
5. Forest peoples rights key to reducing emissions from deforestation
6. Nitrous oxide emissions respond differently to no-till depending on the soil type
7. MIT analysis shows how cap-and-trade plans can cut greenhouse emissions
8. Oil spray reduces greenhouse gas emissions from pig finishing barns
9. Ocean acidification from CO2 emissions will cause physiological impairment to jumbo squid
10. Texas researchers provide emissions data for livestock industry
11. One-fifth of fossil-fuel emissions absorbed by threatened forests
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer – Explore ... you interested in the future of cancer drugs? ... Visiongain,s report gives those predictions to 2026 at ... Avoid falling behind in data or losing ... those emerging cancer therapies can achieve. There you ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2016   Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon) announced ... Research Office and the Defense Forensics and Biometrics ... the company,s Snapshot Kinship Inference software ... generally, defense-related DNA forensics.  Although Snapshot is best ... and ancestry from DNA evidence), it also has ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... Canada , February 1, 2016 ... technological advancements to drive global touchfree intuitive gesture control ... --> Rising sales of consumer electronics coupled ... gesture control market size through ... consumer electronics coupled with new technological advancements to drive ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... February 5, 2016 Amarantus BioScience ... company focused on developing products for Regenerative Medicine, Neurology ... Pediatric Disease Designation (RPDD) from the US Food and ... MANF. MANF was previously granted orphan drug designation (ODD) ... Amarantus BioScience Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: AMBS), ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... ... training, today announced an interactive FDA compliance training course, Writing ... Affairs Professional Society) accredited interactive course on Morf Playbook—now conveniently available on smartphones ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... RICHMOND, Calif. , Feb. 4, 2016  Sangamo ... therapeutic genome editing, announced today that Edward Lanphier ... an update on the progress of Sangamo,s ZFP Therapeutic ... company,s business strategy at 2:40 pm ET on Thursday, ... Annual Global Healthcare Conference. The conference is being ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... ... Bloomsburg University’s Digital Forensics Club, takes place February 5-6 at the University’s ... 20+ speakers and activities such as workshops and competitions for ample networking, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: