Were Dinosaurs Hot-Blooded or Cold-Blooded?

by Veronica Roll, age 14

Humans are warm-blooded, which means we can generate our own heat. Reptiles are cold-blooded; they cannot generate their own heat.

But what about ancient reptiles? Scientists who study life existing in pre-historic time, also known as paleontologists, have not yet determined which type of body temperature dinosaurs had.

At first, scientists presumed that dinosaurs were cold-blooded because of their connection with modern-day reptiles. They believed that because all reptiles today are cold-blooded, dinosaurs were too.

Paleontologists, however, have found it difficult to compare dinosaurs to reptiles, considering the only evidence left behind are bones. However, since crocodiles and dinosaurs have very similar bone structures and metabolisms, paleontologists tend to think they were cold blooded.

This idea was believed by most until 1970, when scientist Bob Bakker pointed out the dinosaurs’ upright skeletons were designed similarly to those of warm-blooded birds. The dinosaurs’ rapid rate of growth also supports the theory that they were warm-blooded.

Today, the most accepted opinion is that dinosaurs were neither warm nor cold-blooded. It is believed that they had four-chambered hearts and a range of metabolic solutions maintaining their body temperature.

In the end, we may never know if dinosaurs had warm blood or cold blood, or if they had an entirely different system.

[Source: Walking with Dinosaurs]