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Science 328, 5984 (2010) 1379-1382
Regulation of body temperature by some Mesozoic marine reptiles.
Aurélien Bernard1, Christophe Lécuyer1, 2, Peggy Vincent3, Romain Amiot1, Nathalie Bardet4, Eric Buffetaut5, Gilles Cuny, François Fourel1, François Martineau1, Jean-Michel Mazin1, Abel Prieur1
(11/06/2010)

What the body temperature and thermoregulation processes of extinct vertebrates were are central questions for understanding their ecology and evolution. The thermophysiologic status of the great marine reptiles is still unknown, even though some studies have suggested that thermoregulation may have contributed to their exceptional evolutionary success as apex predators of Mesozoic aquatic ecosystems. We tested the thermal status of ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and mosasaurs by comparing the oxygen isotope compositions of their tooth phosphate to those of coexisting fish. Data distribution reveals that these large marine reptiles were able to maintain a constant and high body temperature in oceanic environments ranging from tropical to cold temperate. Their estimated body temperatures, in the range from 35 degrees +/- 2 degrees C to 39 degrees +/- 2 degrees C, suggest high metabolic rates required for predation and fast swimming over large distances offshore.
1 :  PEPS - PaleoEnvironnements et PaleobioSphere
2 :  IUF - Institut Universitaire de France
3 :  LPNHE - Laboratoire de Physique Nucléaire et de Hautes Énergies
4 :  CR2P - Centre de recherche sur la Paléobiodiversité et les Paléoenvironnements
5 :  LGE - Laboratoire de géologie de l'ENS
Planète et Univers/Sciences de la Terre/Paléontologie
OXYGEN ISOTOPES – EVOLUTION – BONE – ENDOTHERMY – FISH – DINOSAURS – PHOSPHATE – WATER – ICHTHYOSAURS – METABOLISM