May 7, 2012, WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a major new climate finding, researchers have calculated that dinosaur flatulence could have put enough methane into the atmosphere to warm the planet during the hot, wet Mesozoic era.
Like gigantic, long-necked, prehistoric cows, sauropod dinosaurs roamed widely around the Earth 150 million years ago, scientists reported in the journal Current Biology on Monday.
And just like big cows, their plant digestion was aided by methane-producing microbes.
"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," researcher Dave Wilkinson of Liverpool John Moores University said in a statement.
"Indeed, our calculations suggest that these dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sources - both natural and man-made - put together," Wilkinson said.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, with as much as 25 times the climate-warming potential as carbon dioxide.
This gas is enough of a factor in modern global warming that scientists have worked to figure out how much methane is emitted by cows, sheep and other plant-eating animals.
Calculating methane emissions from modern animals depends only on the total mass of the animals in question. A mid-sized sauropod probably weighed about 44,000 pounds (20,000 kilos), and there were a few dozen of them per square mile (kilometre), the researchers found.
They reckoned that global methane emissions from sauropods were about 520 million tons per year, comparable to all modern methane emissions. Unlike emissions of carbon dioxide, which come from natural sources but also from the burning of fossil fuels, methane emissions have decreased substantially since the start of the Industrial Revolution some 150 years ago.
Before the fossil-fuel intensive Industrial Revolution took off, methane emissions were roughly 200 million tons annually; modern ruminants, including cows, goats, giraffes and other animals, emit between 50 million and 100 million tons of methane a year.
Yes, it's true. Dinosaurs now rest deep below the Earth in gigantic pools of crude oil today, because...
They made too much gas.
I would like to take exception to the author's comparison of dinosaurs to 'long-necked prehistoric cows'. The only 'factual' comparison between a cow and a dinosaur is that it can be factually stated that both species would 'eat' and then 'toot'. How come no one ever picks on elephants the way they pick on the friendly (and tasty) cow?
Here's another MAJOR difference between dinosaurs and cows: No one ever made a film about an island where kindly old scientists were cloning and raising prehistoric cows in secret (which, of course, escape from their barn yards, run amok, and 'gum' unsuspecting tourists to death). No, Spielberg never went there. Why? Because cows are not scary, cows are kind, and cows are our friends.
Stop the 'Cow Hate' Reuters!
Find another species to lay your pent-up Racial hatred upon - leave the White / Brown / Black Bovines alone!
In a related story, Michelle Obama, having read the article quoted above, is seeking to halt the sale of 'Baked Beans' across America in an effort to cut down on 'Man-Made Global Methane' Warming. Effective immediately, all Beans are "Legumes Non Grata" and must be purged from your pantry under stiff penalty from the IRS.
In a statement issued from the White House, Michelle Obama said, "Effective immediately and henceforth, all Americans will purge these methane-producing products from their daily diets. For too long we have stood idly by as Americans 'pooted' recklessly into the atmosphere, creating a toxic-stew of pollutants and foul gaseous expulsions. If we are to save the Earth, we must eliminate all those things which WILL kill you people. And since most of you folks are too stupid to live, we'll do what we need to do to keep you from killing yourselves, and us, in the process."
In conclusion, IF the Earth does die from too much methane, as stated above...
Yes, it's all Bush's fault.
Yes, I connect ALL the dots (even the ones which aren't there).
Have a nice day, regardless...