One of Ostrom’s students, Robert Bakker, took up this theme by aggressively challenging the view that dinosaurs were dull, stupid creatures. Animatronic animal Bakker argued that there was compelling evidence that dinosaurs were more similar to today’s mammals and birds. It should not be forgotten that this argument echoes the incredibly far-sighted comments made by Richard Owen in 1842, when he first conceived the idea of the dinosaur. Mammals and birds are regarded as ‘special’ because they can maintain high activity levels that are attributed to their ‘warm-blooded’, or endothermic, physiology. animatronic mammoth for sale Living endotherms maintain a high and constant body temperature, have highly efficient lungs to maintain sustained aerobic activity levels, are capable of being highly active whatever the ambient temperature, and are able to maintain large and sophisticated brains; all these attributes distinguish birds and mammals from the other vertebrates on Earth.
The range of evidence Bakker used is interesting when considered from our now slightly more ‘tuned’ palaeobiological perspective. Using the anatomical observations made by Ostrom, he argued, in agreement with Owen before him, that:
Dinosaurs had legs arranged pillar-like beneath the body (as do mammals and birds), rather than legs that sprawl out sideways from the body, as seen in lizards and crocodiles.
Some dinosaurs had complex, bird-like lungs, which would have permitted them to breathe more efficiently – as would be necessary for a highly energetic creature.
Dinosaurs could, based on the proportions of their limbs, run at speed (unlike lizards and crocodiles).
However, borrowing from the fields of histology, pathology, and microscopy, Bakker reported that thin sections of dinosaur bone, when viewed under a microscope, showed evidence of a complex structure and rich blood supply that would have allowed a rapid turnover of vital minerals between bone and blood plasma – exactly paralleling that seen in modern mammals.