Dinosaurs blown away by own farts, say researchers 0
A life-size figure of a Tyranosaurus Rex is pictured at the Sarajevo Zoo, in this February 8, 2012 photo. AFP PHOTO ELVIS BARUKCIC
They didn't see the end coming - but they sure would have heard it.
Dinosaurs may have become extinct, thanks in part to their own powerful farts, new research suggests.
U.K. scientists have calculated the amount of flatulence large plant-eating dinosaurs would have produced at the dawn of our world, and say the combined ill wind would have been enough to warm the Earth.
Publishing their findings in the journal Current Biology, authors of the joint study -- from Liverpool John Moore's University, the University of London and the University of Glasgow -- centred their calculations on how much methane giant lumbering Sauropods would have produced.
Then upping the amount released by modern cows, the researchers estimate all dinosaurs would have let rip a combined 520 million tonnes of gas every year. That would be enough to alter the climate 150 million years ago, the study suggests.
Dr. David Wilkinson, from Liverpool John Moore's University, told the BBC: "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."
Past research has found the Earth was far warmer than it is today -- possibly up to 10C hotter during the Mesozoic Era.
Even today, cows alone pump as much as 100 million tonnes of methane up into the Earth's atmosphere, and about 500 million tonnes annually are released from a combination of sources.
But the scientists believe since dinosaurs weren't the only source of methane gas, overall levels may have been higher than today.
It's not the only glimpse of odd perils faced by dinosaurs included in the issue Current Biology.
In it, Chinese researchers say they've discovered a giant flea-like insect -- 10 times the size of current dog fleas -- that would feed on the soft under-belly of dinosaurs.