Were Dinosaurs Cold-Blooded? – Facts About Dinosaurs

A giant dinosaur statue on the ground

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When we think about dinosaurs what comes to our mind is scaly skin, giant bodies, and huge claws. However, recently scientists at Yale University have revealed that all these dinosaurs including the tyrannosaurus rex were ancestors of modern birds.

In that sense, many of them were even cold-blooded and some were warm-blooded animals. For decades scientists wondered how dinosaurs regulated their body temperatures and how they differed from modern birds in terms of metabolic rates.

In this article, we will be going over all the new findings relating to were dinosaurs warm-blooded or cold-blooded animals and how they regulated their body temperature before they went through a mass extinction.

What are Cold Blooded Dinosaurs?

Two long neck dinosaurs are walking on the ground in a beautiful sun rise background

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Dinosaurs that were not able to generate internal heat or, in simpler terms dinosaurs who could not regulate their own temperature were called cold-blooded dinosaurs. Because of this reason, these dinosaurs relied on the external environment to heat themselves, unlike today’s birds.

Dinosaurs that were cold-blooded had slow growth rates and a relatively small body size compared to hot-blooded dinosaurs. And due to this, many small dinosaurs were considered cold-blooded dinosaurs.

What are Warm Blooded Dinosaurs?

the head of a feathered dinosaur in the forest

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Warm-blooded dinosaurs on the other hand were able to regulate their own temperature internally just like mammals or other modern birds. Such creatures were able to generate internal heat from what they ate as they had extremely high metabolic rates which helped them to survive.

In terms of body size warm-blooded dinosaurs were huge as well. It is also worth noting that the term “warm-blooded” is somewhat of a misnomer, as it does not necessarily mean that an animal has a high body temperature as mammals and birds do.

A dinosaur is chasing some kids on the road

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Rather, it refers to an animal’s ability to regulate its body temperature internally, rather than relying on the environment to regulate it.

So, it is possible for an animal to be warm-blooded but still have a relatively low body temperature. But then again the rate of dinosaur metabolisms can carry accordingly to various species.

Were Dinosaurs Cold-Blooded Animals?

Some dinosaurs are walking in the desert with a beautiful sky background

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Some scientists believe that dinosaurs were cold-blooded, like reptiles, because they had a number of characteristics that were typically associated with cold-blooded animals, such as a slow metabolic rate, scaly skin like marine reptiles, and a body temperature that was regulated by the environment.

Other scientists believe that dinosaurs were warm-blooded, like extinct animals including flying reptiles, or modern animals including birds and mammals, because they had a number of characteristics that were typically associated with warm-blooded animals, such as a high metabolic rate and a body temperature that was regulated internally.

3D art of dinosaurs in the United States in a black background

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Were dinosaurs cold-blooded or warm-blooded is a debate that has been discussed for decades. However, new research by a prominent molecular paleobiologist at Yale University has revealed that dinosaurs were not cold-blooded animals.

Dinosaurs were previously thought to be cold-blooded animals but recently discovered dinosaur bones have revealed that dinosaurs were warm-blooded with some high metabolic rates.

Scientists used a new technique called Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to understand the growth rate and body temperatures of various dinosaurs that went through a mass extinction.

However, there is also evidence to support the idea that some dinosaurs were cold-blooded, such as the fact that some of them had scaly skin and laid eggs, which were both characteristics that were typically associated with cold-blooded animals.

Were Dinosaurs Warm-Blooded Animals?

A giant spinosaurus and other dinosaurs beside the river

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One of the main arguments in favor of the idea that dinosaurs were warm-blooded is the fact that many dinosaurs were large and active animals that would have required a high metabolic rate to sustain their activity level.

Additionally, some dinosaurs had feathers, which are typically associated with warm-blooded animals just like today’s birds. Some scientists believe that different species of dinosaurs had different metabolic rates and thermoregulatory mechanisms and that some may have been more cold-blooded while others were more warm-blooded.

How Did Scientists Differentiate Between Warm or Cold Blooded Dinosaurs?

Several animatronic dinosaurs in a park

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Usually, when scientists want to identify a warm-blooded or cold-blooded animal they consider how much oxygen is inhaled by an animal. By analyzing the abundance of certain waste products, such as how much oxygen an animal was using and, therefore, how high its metabolic rate was.

Creatures with high metabolisms were typically associated with warm-blooded animals, while those with low metabolic rates were typically associated with cold-blooded animals. However, the climate could be one selective factor for cold-blooded dinosaurs.

There are possibilities that these cold-blooded dinosaurs used to travel to warmer climates during the cold season due to exceptionally low metabolic rates.

Final Verdict


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Understanding the physiology and biology of extinct animals is one of the most complex tasks ever. Were dinosaurs warm or cold-blooded animals, there is still no definitive answer to this query to this day. However, scientists do believe that most dinosaurs were warm or hot-blooded dinosaurs, unlike modern lizards.

Hopefully, a time will come when we will get to know how these extinct animals were till then have a look at this surreal tyrannosaurus rex sculpture here!

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