The physiology of dinosaurs has historically been a controversial subject, particularly thermoregulation. Recently, many new lines of evidence have been brought to bear on dinosaur physiology generally, including not only metabolic systems and thermoregulation, but on respiratory and cardiovascular systems as well.
During the early years of dinosaur paleontology, it was widely considered that they were sluggish, cumbersome, and sprawling cold-blooded lizards. However, with the discovery of much more complete skeletons in the western United States, starting in the 1870s, scientists could make more informed interpretations of dinosaur biology and physiology. Edward Drinker Cope, opponent of Othniel Charles Marsh in the Bone Wars, propounded at least some dinosaurs as active and agile, as seen in the painting of two fighting "Laelaps" produced under his direction by Charles R. Knight.
In parallel, the development of Darwinian evolution, and the discoveries of Archaeopteryx and Compsognathus, led Thomas Henry Huxley to propose that dinosaurs were closely related to birds. Despite these considerations, the image of dinosaurs as large reptiles had taken root, and most aspects of their paleobiology were interpreted as being typically reptilian for the first half of the twentieth century. Beginning in the 1960s and with the advent of the Dinosaur Renaissance, views of dinosaurs and the physiology have changed dramatically, including the discovery of feathered dinosaurs in Early Cretaceous age deposits in China, indicating that birds evolved from highly agile maniraptoran dinosaurs.
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Famous quotes containing the word physiology:
“Now the twitching stops. Now you are still. We are through with physiology and theology, physics begins.”
—Alfred Döblin (18781957)