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Science. 1999 Jan 22;283(5401):514-6.

Pulmonary function and metabolic physiology of theropod dinosaurs

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  • 1J. A. Ruben, N. R. Geist, T. D. Jones, Zoology Department, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA. C. Dal Sasso, Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Corso Venezia 55, Milano 20121, Italy. W. J. Hillenius, Department of Biology, College o.


Ultraviolet light analysis of a fossil of the theropod dinosaur Scipionyx samniticus revealed that the liver subdivided the visceral cavity into distinct anterior pleuropericardial and posterior abdominal regions. In addition, Scipionyx apparently had diaphragmatic musculature and a dorsally attached posterior colon. These features provide evidence that diaphragm-assisted lung ventilation was present in theropods and that these dinosaurs may have used a pattern of exercise physiology unlike that in any group of living tetrapods.

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