Space Exploration

Dino Flatulence Caused Climate Change?

Posted on: May 8th, 2012 by partapsingh 4 Comments

You can see the original article here from The Telegraph.


The takeaway is that the dinosaurs, like the cows of today, would have produced a substantial amount of methane. Unlike our cows, though, the dinosaurs were huge, ranging in length up to 150 feet and in weight over 45 tonnes. The research suggests that dino-produced methane would have been around 472 million tonnes per year, compared to the (comparatively) recent pre-industrial average of 181 million tonnes per year. Incidentally, the article suggests that man-made emissions now match dinosaur flatulence and . . . I’ll leave you to make the obvious jokes about that one (if you have any good ones, feel free to comment!).


I don’t want people to get the wrong idea – this is not directly related to the extinction of the dinosaurs. They didn’t warm the Earth so much that they ended up undermining their own ecology. Instead, the extra warmth actually helped them, creating a stable equilibrium. The climate we evolved in is not rich enough to sustain creatures as large as the dinosaurs. In a warmer climate, though, the available zones for rainforests and other foliage-rich regions would have been broader, and the extent of unproductive arctic ice narrower. In other words, the fact that dinosaurs emitted extra methane led to a virtuous cycle that increased their own potential size (up to a certain limit, of course).

There was a downside, though. Their size made them dependent on the high productivity of the land. That meant that even a minor change in the climate produced by the extinction event would have led to a marginal reduction in the sustainability of the dinosaur population. Say the climate changed enough to reduce the food supply by only two to three percent. Well, that means two to three percent less methane emissions, and therefore a further cooling of the atmosphere. As the atmosphere cooled more, a downward spiral would have ensued, leading to the extinction of the dinosaurs. So, even though their flatulence was actually beneficial to them, it may have also set up the particular nature of their downfall.

Will the seeds of our success as a species do the same?

Tags: , , ,

4 Responses

  1. What’s up Dear, are you in fact visiting this website on a regular basis,
    if so afterward you will definitely obtain good experience.

    Look into my site:

  2. Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of.
    I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they just don’t
    know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side effect
    , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more.

    Feel free to visit my webpage; granite slabs miami

  3. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you could
    be a great author. I will ensure that I bookmark youyr blog
    and will often come back later in life. I want to encourage you
    tto ultimately continue your great writing, have
    a nice afternoon!

  4. domain says:

    Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just
    your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental
    and all. Nevertheless think of if you added some great pictures or
    videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your
    content is excellent but with pics and videos, this website could undeniably be
    one of the very best in its field. Good blog!

Leave a Reply