In a major new climate finding, researchers have calculated that dinosaur flatulence could have put enough methane into the atmosphere to warm the planet during the hot, wet Mesozoic era.
Like gigantic, long-necked, prehistoric cows, sauropod dinosaurs roamed widely around the Earth 150 million years ago, scientists reported in the journal Current Biology on Monday.
And just like big cows, their plant digestion was aided by methane-producing microbes.
"A simple mathematical model suggests that the microbes living in sauropod dinosaurs may have produced enough methane to have an important effect on the Mesozoic climate," researcher Dave Wilkinson of Liverpool John Moores University said in a statement.
"Indeed, our calculations suggest that these dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sources - both natural and man-made - put together," Wilkinson said.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, with as much as 25 times the climate-warming potential as carbon dioxide....