Friday 18 June 2010

Mesozoic marine reptiles were warm blooded

Perspectives Paleontology:

Warm-Blooded "Sea Dragons"?

Ryosuke Motani
When dinosaurs roamed the land in the Mesozoic (251 to 65 million years ago), the top predators in the ocean were reptiles (1, 2). Three lineages of Mesozoic marine reptiles (plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, and mosasaurs) were especially successful (2) (see the first figure). They were similar to current marine mammals in many respects. They fed on fish, cephalopods, bivalves, and other air-breathing vertebrates (1). Ichthyosaurs evolved dolphin-like body plans. Plesiosaurs became underwater fliers, vaguely resembling sea lions (2, 3). It now appears that similarities to today's marine mammals extended further: On page 1379 of this issue, Bernard et al. (4) report that some ancient reptiles may have been able to sustain a constant body temperature (i.e., homeothermy).
Department of Geology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
Source: Science 11 June 2010:
Vol. 328. no. 5984, pp. 1361 - 1362
DOI: 10.1126/science.1191409

Unfortunately I can’t publish the rest of the article as this is the only free bit. I have however read it and it is interesting in that it means if it is true  such creatures could survive in colder waters.

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