Using exclusively a preserved fossil from South Africa, a particle accelerator and powerful X-rays, an international team of scientists found that not all dinosaurs breathed the same way.
The findings provide a better understanding of how the main group of dinosaurs evolved, including famous creatures such as Triceratops and Stegosaurus. The research is published in the journal eLife. It is known that not all animals breathe the same way. Humans, for example, expand and contract their lungs, birds have air sacs that pump oxygen, and the lungs do not actually move.
For a long time, scientists believed that the breathing of dinosaurs was similar to that of a bird. But a new study by paleontologists from the Universities of the Witwatersrand, Cape Town (South Africa), Minnesota, Louisiana (USA), Alberta (Canada), Birmingham, as well as the Museum of Natural History (UK), European Synchrotron Radiation Center (France) showed that at least one dinosaur had a different breathing pattern.
We are talking about heterodontosaurus – the oldest dinosaur in the Ornithischian lineage, one of the three main groups of dinosaurs, which includes Triceratops, Stegosaurus and other platypus dinosaurs. The other two groups are sauropods, or long necks, and therapods, such as tyrannosaurus. Thus, the ancestors of Ornithischians could breathe differently from other groups of dinosaurs.
This showed a study of the well-preserved remains of a heterodontosaurus using a powerful synchrotron – a giant particle accelerator and an X-ray source. As a result, scientists were able to digitally reconstruct the skeleton of a dinosaur and determine the way it breathes.