Scientists: Dinosaur farts warmed the earth

May 7th, 2012 by | Permalink

British researchers say the methane emissions from dinosaurs may have warmed the planet millions of years ago. Photo via mmagallon at SXC Photo

According to a report by the BBC, British scientists believe that dinosaur flatulence may have helped warm our planet millions of years ago.

The scientists involved in the research scaled up the digestive wind of cows, and by using those numbers they were able to estimate that the dinosaur population produced 573 million tons of gas each year.

The scientists believe that this amount of methane gas might have been a large reason for the warm climate 150 million years ago.

The results were of the study done by David Wilkinson from Liverpool John Moore’s University and colleagues from the University of London and the University of Glasgow were published in the journal Current Biology.

Methane, a “greenhouse gas”, absorbs infrared radiation from the sun and traps it in the atmosphere.  This leads to increased temperatures, the BBC reports.

According to the BBC, research from studies previously done have indicated that the Earth was up to 18 degrees (10C) warmer during the Mesozoic Era.

Presently, livestock emissions are a substantial contribution to the global methane levels, so the researchers used existing data to estimate how the dinosaurs may have impacted the climate, the BBC reports.

According to the BBC, the researchers considered the dinosaurs’ estimated total population and used a scale that links biomass to methane output for cattle to make their calculations.

“Cows today produce something like 55-110 [million tons] per year. Our best estimate for Sauropods is around 573 [million tons],” Dr Wilkinson told the BBC.

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