That’s gas: Dinosaur flatulence may have warmed the Earth

We might want to rename the Brachiosaurus with the moniker, Gassiosaurus, new research indicates.

The gassy emissions from these giant dinosaurs may have been enough to warm the Earth, the researchers say.

Sauropods are large plant-eating dinosaurs typified by such titans as Apatosaurus (once known as Brontosaurus) and Brachiosaurus. When they lived, during the Mesozoic era — from about 250 million years ago until the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago — the climate was warm and wet. Nothing on Earth today compares with these giants.

The researchers found that the greenhouse gas methane produced by all sauropods across the globe would have been about 520 million tons per year, a number on par with the total amount of methane currently produced by both natural and man-made sources.

The researchers, led by David Wilkinson of Liverpool John Moores University in the Britain, did their best to get an accurate estimate of how much gas these big dinosaurs would have created, but their answers are still just estimates based on multiple assumptions.

The greenhouse gas methane is a natural by product of the digestive process of plant eaters, especially in herbivores called ruminants (like cows and camels).


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