This week saw the release of a new paper that has implications for dinosaur metabolism.
Dawson, R.R., Field, D.J., Hull, P.M., Zelenitsky, D.K., Therrien, F., Affek, H.P. 2020. Eggshell Geochemistry Reveals Ancestral Metabolic Thermoregulation in Dinosauria. Sci. Adv. 6:eaax9361. (Open Access)
The paper makes some pretty hefty claims regarding dinosaur metabolism, and as such, has received a fair share of media coverage touting this as the latest evidence for “warm-blooded” (i.e., automatic endothermic) dinosaurs.
Every time there is a major headline like that, I feel obliged to go back to the source to see what the media has likely overblown. In this case, media claims don’t seem that far off what was written in the actual paper, which is not necessarily good. Some of these claims do extend beyond the reach of the available evidence (e.g., there actually is no comparison with other contemporaneous reptiles of the region, weakening any arguments for metabolic thermoregulation).
It’s been an age since I’ve done one of these paper breakdowns, but I think this one warrants a more thorough analysis, especially given the implications of the interpretations.