Scientists come out with the weirdest reports. A small group of British scientists are saying that dinosaur gas may have changed the climate back in the prehistoric days. According to a paper published in the Current Biology journal yesterday, the scientists estimated how much methane the global population of herbivore dinosaurs could have emitted.
Current plant eating animals such as cows and sheep emit 20% of methane into the atmosphere. That goes to say that dinosaurs would have emitted much more - with their huge size and population.
Scientists estimate that dinosaurs such as the plant eating sauropods would have emitted 520 million tons of methane per year - which is equal to all natural and manmade source of methane today, according to David Wilkinson, one of the authors of the paper. "These are huge herbivores - they're going to have an effect," Wilkinson said in a telephone interview.
The research is based on purely an estimate. The scientists do not know how many sauropods roamed the earth throughout the Mezozoic era and are not completely sure how their digestive tracts worked. There is no direct evidence that the dinosaurs even emitted methane. Research is based on how modern plant eating animals break down the food and produce methane. "Pretty much everyone that works on sauropods assumes they used microbes in their guts," Wilkinson said in the interview.
So if the sauropods did emit the gas - it would have done so either by burping or farting. If they did emit that much methane, they would have contributed to global warming. "Sauropods remain a potentially important source of methane that hasn't been considered before," Wilkinson said.