How Dinosaur Gas Changed Planet Earth
by Rafa Pacheco, age 11
The dinosaurs’ digestive system could have been what made the Earth warmer. About 200 million years ago, during the Mesozoic Era, the world was 18 degrees warmer than it is now. The plant-eating dinosaurs’ digestive systems produced methane gas through burps and passing gas.
Methane is a greenhouse gas, which traps heat and keeps it in the atmosphere for up to 15 years. Several creatures produce this gas, but plant-eaters produce it most often. Cattle, goats, and sheep produce a large amount of today’s methane gas. Humans are also responsible for releasing methane gas through landfills, agriculture, coal mining, and industrial practices.
Studies show that sauropods, long-necked herbivore dinosaurs that are especially good at creating methane, would have produced about 520 million tons of methane per year, or 2,675 liters per day. The gas went into the atmosphere and warmed up the earth. The researchers used estimates for this data, since the species is now extinct. This is about the same amount we produce today by man-made and natural sources. The dinosaurs’ gas was just one of the causes of the warmth of the Mesozoic Era. Other sources of gas were volcanoes, swamps, and shallow seas.
[Source: Time for Kids]