Since the birth of paleontology, scientists have hotly debated whether dinosaurs were cold- or warm-blooded. It’s been commonly suggested that warm-bloodedness was an avian innovation, something birds developed that their ancient dino relatives like Sue the T. rex did not. Traditional methods and tools like histology and scanning electron microscopes have hinted that this might not actually be true, but a new field of molecular paleobiology is giving us definitive answers. Watch us slice, dissolve, and shoot a laser at some of the Field Museum’s coolest fossils to prove that dinosaurs weren’t actually as cold-blooded as we once thought.
Jingmai O’Connor is the associate curator of fossil reptiles at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. She received her PhD studying Mesozoic birds at the University of Southern California.
Jasmina Wiemann is a Trimble & Barr Postdoctoral Scholar studying the intersection of organic chemistry, biology, and geology at the California Institute of Technology. She received her PhD at Yale, where she developed the field of molecular paleontology.
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We Dissolved T. Rex Bones To Prove Dinosaurs Were NOT Cold-Blooded | Science Skills