Posted Monday, May 7, 2012, at 2:13 PM
Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
British scientists have published research in the journal Current Biology that suggests dinosaur flatulence during the Jurassic period turned the Earth into one giant Dutch oven, contributing significantly to a warmer climate 150 million years ago.
By comparing their digestive system to modern day cows, scientists calculated the methane output of vegetarian Sauropod species like the Brontosaurus. The results predict the annual output of methane gas from the world's population of dinosaurs would have been around 520 million tons, compared to an output of 50-100 million tons for today’s cattle population.
That suggests the total methane output during the time of the dinosaurs was significantly higher than it is today, helping to explain the increased temperatures—since methane is a greenhouse gas that traps radiation from the sun in the Earth’s atmosphere.
While this new research may not shed light on the “denied it, supplied it” or “smelt it, dealt it” theories, it does suggest that living during the time of the dinosaurs would have totally stunk.