What could the fierce dinosaur T. rex and a modern songbird such as the sparrow possibly have in common? Their pulmonary systems may have been more similar than scientists previously thought, according to new research from Ohio University and Harvard University.
Though some scientists have proposed that predatory dinosaurs had lungs similar to crocodiles and other reptiles, a new study published in this weeks issue of the journal Nature suggests the ancient beasts boasted a much bigger, more complex system of air sacs similar to that in todays birds. The finding is one of several studies in recent years to paint a new, more avian-like portrait of meat-eaters such as T. rex: The creatures may have had feathers, incubated their eggs, grown quickly and perhaps even breathed like birds.
"What was once formally considered unique to birds was present in some form in the ancestors of birds," said Patrick OConnor, an assistant professor of biomedical sciences at Ohio Universitys College of Osteopathic Medicine and lead author on the study, which was funded in part by the National Science Foundation.
Andrea Gibson | EurekAlert!
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