Warm-blooded animal species such as mammals and birds have metabolic processes that control their body temperatures, are able to maintain their temperatures irrespective of the external environment, and feature higher resting temperatures than their sluggish, cold-blooded counterparts.
For decades scientists assumed that dinosaurs were cold-blooded, just because of their physical resemblence to modern reptiles and amphibians. Studies on leg length have however suggested that dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded to maintain their wide paces. Evidence pointing either way will have significant implications on their energy levels, feeding habits, and lifestyles.
New research published in Science comparing the ‘scleral ring’ and eye socket sizes in 164 living lizards and birds as well as 33 dinosaur fossils suggests that the various types of dinosaurs sampled – ranging from small carnivores to large herbivores – were all able to see well in the dark. This finding further supports the likelihood that like their feathered descendants, dinosaurs were in fact warm-blooded animals with pretty frisky lifestyles!