Pulmonary Function and Metabolic Physiology of Theropod Dinosaurs

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Science  22 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5401, pp. 514-516
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5401.514

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Ultraviolet light analysis of a fossil of the theropod dinosaurScipionyx samniticus revealed that the liver subdivided the visceral cavity into distinct anterior pleuropericardial and posterior abdominal regions. In addition, Scipionyx apparently had diaphragmatic musculature and a dorsally attached posterior colon. These features provide evidence that diaphragm-assisted lung ventilation was present in theropods and that these dinosaurs may have used a pattern of exercise physiology unlike that in any group of living tetrapods.

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