March 8, 2016

Michael D’Emic, Ph.D.: New Evidence Suggests Dinosaurs Were Warm-Blooded

Michael D'Emic Biology Paleontology

In a highly publicized study, Michael D’Emic, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Adelphi University, offered evidence that dinosaurs were warm-blooded.

Were dinosaurs cold-blooded or warm-blooded? The question has fueled a decades-long debate among scientists. Could the controversy be over? Research by Michael D’Emic, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Adelphi University, suggests it may be. In a widely publicized paper that appeared in the journal Science on May 29, 2015, (when he was at Stony Brook University), Dr. D’Emic argues that evidence indicates that dinosaurs were warm-blooded.

Dr. D’Emic re-analyzed a study published in Science in 2014, which had concluded that dinosaurs were neither cold blooded or warm blooded. Using new techniques to analyze the same data, Dr. D’Emic found some discrepancies. First, by reassessing dinosaur growth rates on an annual basis, he found that dinosaurs grew as quickly as mammals.

“Upon re-analysis, it was apparent that dinosaurs weren’t just somewhat like living mammals in their physiology—they fit right within our understanding of what it means to be a ‘warm-blooded’ mammal,” D’Emic said in an interview with a reporter at Stony Brook University.

Second, Dr. D’Emic observed that the 2014 study omitted birds, which are warm-blooded and most likely evolved from theropods—the two-legged meat-eaters, such as Tyrannosaurus rex.

“Separating what we commonly think of as ‘dinosaurs’ from birds in a statistical analysis is generally inappropriate, because birds are dinosaurs—they’re just the dinosaurs that haven’t gone extinct,” D’Emic said in a press statement.

Dr. D’Emic’s paper has attracted considerable attention, including coverage by 280 media outlets worldwide and 1,700 social media shares. Stony Brook University even listed it as one of the “Top 15 Stories of 2015.”

Read more about Dr. D’Emic’s breakthrough in The Washington Post.

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