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Dinosaur Farts Caused Sauropodogenic Global Warming, Says Study

A new study, Could Methane Produced by Sauropod Dinosaurs Have Helped Drive Mesozoic Climate Warmth?, [PDF] in Current Biology suggests that dinosaur flatulence may have boosted global average temperatures by as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit in the Mesozoic era over today's temperatures. The British researchers basically scaled up estimates of the amount of methane that cows produce today to the amount that might have been produced by herds of giant reptiles. Methane's global warming potential is about 25-fold greater than that of carbon dioxide. 

As the BBC reports:

"Cows today produce something like 50-100 [million tonnes] per year. Our best estimate for Sauropods is around 520 [million tonnes]," said Dr. [David] Wilkinson [from Johns Moore University]. 

Current methane emissions amount to around 500 million tonnes a year from a combination of natural sources, such as wild animals, and human activities including dairy and meat production.

Thank goodness an asteroid slammed into the Earth 65 millions years ago to put a stop dinogenic climate change!  

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  • DesigNate||

    Lousy no good dinosaurs.

  • JW||

    ♫ Everyone walk the dinosaur ♫

  • ||

    Has anyone even remotely proven the methane claims? Remotely?

  • sarcasmic||

    Dude, proving things through the scientific method is so quaint.
    Nobody does that anymore.
    They just take a vote and...Consensus!

  • o3||

    yep my bud in HS proved farts have methane when he lit his fart on-fire, burnt his jeans, then was elected class prez. >hilarity ensued

  • Proprietist||

    That sounds about par for your course, Orrin.

  • o3||

    there are alotta ways to get elected & humor works well.

  • tarran||

    They have a model Epi, and we all know that a computer model is basically as good as an observation of the real world!

    And what's more, if two people using the same equations, design computer models that then output the same calculations, it totally confirms that the computer models accurately represent reality!

  • ||

    I'm being serious. Has anyone, in any way, even remotely proven that animal farts contribute to/cause "global warming"? I see all these speculations, but not an ounce of proof.

  • ||

    No. While methane does absorb in the visual/UV spectrum and emit in the IR, so it meets the definition of a GHG, we have no proof that ending natural methane emissions would have any effect on temperatures. As best I can tell its a PETA fantasy to end ruminant and pig farming.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'm curious if this is at all "net" methane, since the absence of the dinos would have led to fewer plants being eaten. Presumably some of the methane would have been generated from excess decaying plants if there was nothing eating them.

  • tarran||

    Epi, joking aside, methane in the atmosphere of a planet near a sun will warm the surface. But given the homeostatic feedbacks in the atmosphere of Earth, no one knows how much.

  • Hugh Akston||

    People keep talking to me about all of the homeostatic feedback in my entertainment choices, but I don't think there's anything wrong with owning every Guy Ritchie movie.

  • ||

    I didn't think I could have any more contempt for you, and then you go and surprise me. If you tell me you have copies of The Boondock Saints and Smokin' Aces I might have to shit my pants on the spot.

  • Hugh Akston||

    What about Layer Cake?

  • ||

    I can handle Layer Cake.

  • R C Dean||

    Layer Cake and Lock Stock are fine movies.

    The others, dreck.

  • Killazontherun||

    Is that the vanity project he directed for his ex-wife? seriously, you got that one you deserve to be raped between the nuts.

  • ||

    I thought current AGW theory denied homeostatic (negative) feedbacks.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    Epi,

    Even if animal farts contribute, it is only ≈5% of the total methane source.

    here

  • SugarFree||

    We must destroy the wetlands.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    And the termites.

  • SugarFree||

    And rice.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    And Michael Moore.

  • Drake||

    Has anyone proven (or even proposed) that there were more pounds of Sauropod per acre than buffalo or wildebeest? Or are they saying that a single 15 ton dinosaur is proportionally gassier than 20 1500 lb buffaloes? Because big herds of buffalo, mammoths, and other mammal plant eaters sure failed to hold off successive ice ages.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    There's also fact that methane tends not to last long in the air, it loves to react with basically everything - which is why its a feedstock in so many industrial and chemical processes on earth.

    Come to think of it, the amount of methane that must have come off all the decaying plant matter during the Carboniferous would been far beyond dinosaurs converting said plant matter into methane.

    I mean, just thinking about this for five minutes sitting here typing...its absurd.

    But I'll tell you what, methane is going to be new Boogeyman. CH4 industry is on gang-busters with ubiquitous domestic supply, jobs, infrastructure already deployed and trade deficits on the way to being reversed. Wow. And it burns clean 50/50 H2O + CO2 - no smog, no single-oxides, no soot. All the rational reasons to hate hydro-carbons are gone with this fuel and where it is and how to get it.

    The only thing the Prius-mandaters have left is the Carbon Warmer Monster - so they'll double-down on their cult these next couple years.

  • ||

    It ocurred to me also that that methane tends not to last long in the atmosphere. But I wasn't sure.

  • Hugh Akston||

    AND YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DINOSAURS

  • tarran||

    I thought they went extinct after downloading Lucy Liu from Kidnapster.

  • ||

    "That's a wave of destruction that's easy on the eyes!"

  • Trespassers W||

    I know you keep a bootleg of Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever hidden in a stack of porn DVDs.

    This is your secret shame that will someday destroy you.

  • ||

    If my shame is thinking Lucy Liu is hot, then shame away. I can think of a lot worse to shame me for. Or you. For instance, your wrinkled Randy Travis poster.

  • Hugh Akston||

    There's nothing wrong with Randy Travis. He's like Lyle Lovett for the less sophisticated backwoods yokel.

  • ||

  • Hugh Akston||

    I keep forgetting about that video. Trespassers keeps claiming that he has Tourette's, but I think he might just be an asshole.

  • ||

    It's the second time he's been fucked by Dairy Queen.

  • Joe M||

    DON'T TALK SHIT ABOUT TOTAL.

  • Trespassers W||

    For instance, your wrinkled Randy Travis poster.

    IT WAS THAT WAY WHEN I FOUND IT.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    AND YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DINOSAURS

    Yeah, they only made it another 185 million years.

    So young... so young... sob... sniffle.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Sauropods weren't even the first to cause climate change. When arthropods first appeared on land in the Silurian period, species like the Barking Spider generated millions of tons of methane.

  • fried wylie||

    Let get down to the bottom line:

    Algae are to blame for all our climate woes. Without them creating an oxygen rich atmosphere there wouldn't be any Gaia-raping animals.

  • ||

    When prokaryotes started producing oxygen it was poisonous to eukaryotes. Maybe we should rewind the clock to earth's natural state 3.5 billion years ago, and outlaw oxygen.

  • ||

    But that wouldn't last, because the homosexual-lynching Republithugs would just sell waivers to corporations and shit, so oxygen prohibition would be compromised!

  • ||

    You see? The system works!

  • ||

    So, just to be clear -- estimated methane output remains essentially the same now as then but isn't the major factor now? Hmm...

  • ||

    CO2 swamps methane. Methane is a much more powerful GHG, but as TheZeitgeist noted, it tends to break down very quickly in the atmosphere, on the order of a decade. CO2 stays in the atmosphere for centuries, if not millennia. Also, there's more than 200 times more CO2 than methane in the air (currently ~400 ppm v. ~1.87 ppm).

    So while the methane is not helping, CO2 is the main driver of AGW.

  • ||

    CO2 is the main driver of AGW.

    Ha, that's a good one. There's this other chemical compound called H2O which accounts for 95% of the heat trapped in the atmosphere.

  • ||

    Hence the 'A', chuckles.

  • ||

    No, you've got that backwards. CH3 is rated 25:1 because it (molecule for molecule) breaks down much more slowly. Thus, if you do a carbon equivalent study, its still there 5 years later. CO2 gets broken down by respiration on a particle for particle basis much faster.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    CH4 is a volatile that reacts with just about everything it touches. There must be some methodology in the Carbon Equivalent Study you speak of to identify the 'same' CH4 molecules five years later (do they bag and tag'em like Elk?).

    Reason I ask is I have no bearing on how much methane is in the air over time (compared to say, CO2) and there are no big asymmetric sources I'm aware of to drive the number higher or lower. And we've only begun to grasp the amount of that stuff and its volatility in the geologic cycle in the past ten years. So please, by all means I'd love to see how they conducted that Carbo Equivalent Study you mention - seriously it sounds interesting.

  • ||

    Yeah. Sorry, I've been looking at trimethyl borane for a couple of days. I dropped a hydrogen because I just keep reading methyl not methane.

    Here is the EPA site with a chart (look for GWP). These potentials are originally defined from the IPCC Assessment Reports according to the source.

    Also search wikipedia (2 link limit

    And yes, for whatever reason, methane is rated sticking around longer than CO2.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Ah, no worries, I've botched water with hydrogen peroxide - on a test no less - so I know how it goes.

    On side note,I followed your EPA Glossary link, and down the rabbit hole we go. First to EPA's Methane Info Site - full of scary stuff about CH4 levels rising in the atmosphere 150% since 1750! And using ice-core samples they've determined CH4 is at higher concentrations than anytime in past 400 kiloyears! All kinds of scary, scary stuff.

    But then you look who the 'they' are the EPA is getting their Boogeyman stories from: One link is to not a paper or even study, but yet another 'report' from the NRC. Of course IPCC reports make a showing.

    And finally, the vast increase in CH4 is accounted for in a chart linked to 'http://www.ghgonline.org/humaninfluencebig.htm.'

    That site is owned and authored by a Ph.D from a University of Edinburgh fellow, who has many papers on many scary things about climate. And a MSc in Carbon Management to boot! Wonky!

    But where does his data about all the rise in CH4 come from? Ugh, the IPCC again. Its like some vast circular-reference-error in Excel with these guys.

  • ||

    There's just shy of 400 ppm of CO2 in the air. Methane is about 1.87 ppm. These are averages, since they cycle up and down a bit through the course of the year.

  • fried wylie||

    since they cycle up and down a bit through the course of the year

    fucking deciduous plants. OUTLAW THEM NOW!!!

  • deified||

    Bailey's obsession with dinosaur farts is getting tiresome.

  • plu1959||

    "Flatus finds a way."

  • Russell||

    Forget the asteroid, Ron , global climate was saved from runaway eructive destruction by that greenest of lizards, our lawyer-eating friend T. rex.

  • T||

    I thought Dinosaur Farts was J Mascis band when he wasn't in Dinosaur Jr.

  • BoscoH||

    The clear lesson here is that regardless of what we do about greenhouse gases, an asteroid would change everything.

  • Raymond Luxury Yach-t||

    Which is why Gaia has produced homosapiens whom will create an asteroid defense for her.

  • ||

    The best thing all of us can do is commit suicide to ensure that Holy Terra does not suffer further corrosion at the hands of the capitalist swine and complicit livestock.

    May Athena bless PETA!

  • tarran||

    BTW, anyone interested in the whole Climate Science thing should read the latest article in Climate Audit.

    Yamal FOI Sheds New Light on Flawed Data.

    In their original statement on Yamal, CRU stated:
    We would never select or manipulate data in order to arrive at some preconceived or regionally unrepresentative result.

    ... this is how they think of themselves. But ... they have had a strong sense of what their results "should" look like and have, on other occasions, selected and manipulated data so that their results accord with "preconceived" results.

    ...

    Had their Yamal-Urals regional chronology had been in accordance with their previous results, I am completely convinced that they would have used it in Briffa et al 2008 and/or their October 2009 online article without a second thought. My surmise is that the apparent failure of the (still withheld) Yamal-Urals regional chronology to accord with their expectations caused CRU not to use it in Briffa et al 2008. I realize that this is a harsh statement, but it's what I think. Muir Russell had an opportunity and obligation to investigate, but unfortunately failed to do so.
  • Aresen||

    I don't know about the global warming aspect, but I wouldn't want to be within 5 miles downwind if a brontosaurus* cut the cheese.

    (* OK, apatosaurus for Triassic nerds.)

  • Nando||

    Twenty years after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, environmental protection is seen as little more than an impediment to economic expansion.
    http://www.themarknews.com/articles/8490

  • ||

    Presumably a dynasty of reptiles would have few complaints with global warming, which would only make the citizens friskier and more numerous.

  • ||

    Actually the methane/cow farts thing is mostly bollocks.

    Ruminants produce methane when their digestive process converts cellulose to sugar. This happens in the first stomach and very litle of the gas passes through the next three stomachs to become farts. Most of it is regurgitated with the cud.

    But then cow burps doesn't satisfy the humor needs of the second-grader in us nearly as well as cow farts. Although every so often the cow is unable to regurgitate which leads to bovine bloat. Exploding cows might be hilarious, except for the cow, that is.

    Since most farmed cows get highly processed sugar rich feed cows in moder industrial farms produce considerably less methane than ruminants (deer, moose, elk etc) in the wild whose diets can be exceedingly high in cellulose.

  • ||

    Mind you, if you try to tell that (last paragraph) to a "natural food" advocate he will stick his fingers in his ears and go "lalalala, I cant hear you."

    Ther are several citations for it. You can find them with google.

  • ||

    Also, I was frankly not aware that reptiles were among the species who converted cellulose to sugar for nutrition. Hence, I wonder how they could have produced that much. AFAIK, most normal digestive fuctions produce very little methane.

    Now I suppose kangaroo and rabbit farts could be a problem since they, IIRC, convert cellulose in the gut with the help of a functioning appendix.

    In humans and most other animals the appendix has long since atrophied into a useless and occasionally troublesome vestige.

  • Nando||

    http://www.themarknews.com/articles/8490
    Twenty years after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, environmental protection is seen as little more than an impediment to economic expansion.

  • ||

    It's worth keeping in mind that the first big funding of "Climate Science" came from the the Thatcher government in the UK which did it because they wanted to destroy the coal mining unions and provide the rationale for the subsidies that nuclear power needs to be feasible.

    The Tory Party figured that it would be credible because, as you know, Maggie was a scientist and all while the rest of the world's leaders were basically scientific illiterates.

    Of course, when the "milk snatcher" realized what a monster she'd created she decided it wasn't such a great idea after all.

    By then it was too late. Giving socialist academics money rarely converts them to the program of the ruling right wing party. :)

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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