Dinosaurs may not have debated the effects of gas on their environment, but the creatures may ultimately have been felled by it all the same.
However, while we spend our time fighting over the impact of our reliance on fossil fuels, the actual fossils themselves were potentially destroyed by a different type of gas. Dinosaurs didn’t eat at Taco Bell, but it would appear that flatulence was a plague for the beasts as much as it is for your roommate after several Chalupas and a Mountain Dew.
Think science is dry and boring? A new study into the extinction of dinosaurs published in the journal Current Biology not only examines the role of gas, and discovers that the prehistoric creatures may have generated a catastrophic amount of it.
Researcher David Wilkinson, from Liverpool John Moores University, explains just how gassy the dinos may have been to get themselves all killed:
“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… In fact, our calculations suggest these dinosaurs may have produced more methane than all the modern sources, natural and human, put together.”
Yes, even more so than your mom after an enthusiastic visit to the Old Country Buffet, zing. Wilkinson explains:
“The ecology of microbes and their role in the working of our planet are one of my key interests in science… Although it’s the dinosaur element that captures the popular imagination with this work, actually it is the microbes living in the dinosaurs guts that are making the methane.”
Modern animals that are comparatively gassy are goats, cows and giraffes, but none are as flatulent as dinosaurs are believed to have been.