Monday, May 7, 2012

Natural Gas: Why Are People Talking About Sauropods Today?

From the Telegraph:

Dinosaurs passing wind may have caused climate change 
Huge plant-eating dinosaurs may have produced enough greenhouse gas by breaking wind to alter the Earth's climate, research suggests.
Dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sources
Dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sources Photo: PA

Like huge cows, the mighty sauropods would have generated enormous quantities of methane.
Sauropods, recognisable by their long necks and tails, were widespread around 150 million years ago.
They included some of the largest animals to walk the Earth, such as Diplodocus, which measured 150 feet and weighed up to 45 tonnes.
Scientists believe that, just as in cows, methane-producing bacteria aided the digestion of sauropods by fermenting their plant food. 
''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,'' said study leader Dr Dave Wilkinson, from Liverpool John Moores University.

''Indeed, our calculations suggest that these dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sources - both natural and man-made - put together.''

The research is published today in the journal Current Biology. 
Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, with a stronger ability to trap heat....MORE
There are dozens of headlines, mainly from the U.K. for some reason.
May favorite? Oregon Public Broadcasting:
Never Stand Behind A Dinosaur, New Research Shows
Fun fact:
A medium-sized sauropod would have farted out 2675 liters of gas a day!