Scientific swing-and-a-miss

Posted January 18th, 2010 by kcorliss. Comment (0).

CBS News has the story, which is their synopsis on an article in Science.

It’s headlined: Bird Breathing Helped Dinosaur Ancestors

(photo from marathonbooks.com)

They are saying alligators breathe in a similar manner as birds. That is, air entering their breathing apparatus goes on a one-way tour, not the in-and-out we mammals perform. This, the article claims, may have allowed alligators and their kin to better survive the drop-off of atmospheric oxygen which occurred some 250 million years ago, an event which devastated large mammals.

Most surprising of all is no one…let me say that again…no one noticed this before.

One burning question remains, though: How the heck did we miss this for so long? “People incorrectly believe that you must have avian-style air sacs in order to have unidirectional flow,” says C.G. Farmer of the University of Utah, a coauthor of the new study. “Alligators don’t have air sacs, so no one ever looked” [Science News]. But there it was, hiding in plain sight-presuming you have the stomach to study alligator lungs.

Sort of calls to mind the events surrounding the "science" of global climate change doesn’t it?

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