Dinosaurs have long been animals that young and old alike are in awe of. To fully understand them, it is necessary to learn how their mind and bodies work. The heart has been the center of attention lately due to some new discoveries from the last decade. Even then, the age-old question remains; how many hearts did the dinosaur have?
As a general rule, the dinosaur had one heart, and it has been recently proven that it had four chambers, just like the birds that seem to be related to their evolution. A few exceptions, like the Barosaurus, have been claimed to have as many as 8 hearts to pump the blood throughout the enormous body.
Many have said that the dinosaur was more like today’s reptiles and that they were cold-blooded creatures. As technology continues to improve, more has been discovered about the legendary dinosaurs than could have ever been believed. If things had been different, they might have been able to share the world with us today. Let’s take a deeper look into the heart of the dinosaur.
The Finding of The Four Chambered Heart
Until recently, dinosaur experts from all over the world agreed on one thing; dinosaurs were cold-blooded reptile-like creatures with a heart that had three chambers. In 1993 that ideology changed when a part-time dinosaur hunter named Michael Hammer found something extraordinary.
- Hammer found the fossil of a Thescelosaurus hidden deep in the rocks of the Hells Creek Formation in South Dakota. The fantastic thing about it was not the preserved skeleton but the fossilized heart that was found tucked away under the rib cage. It was in perfect shape. So perfect, in fact, that many people looking at the scans thought it was a heart from a live animal.
- Hammer teamed up with several scientists that used innovative technology to scan the heart. These scans showed what many experts find hard to believe. The heart was designed very similar to that of the birds that still live today and closer to the mammal’s heart than scientists would like to think.
- The scans showed that the heart had two ventricles divided by a septum. It had one large aorta blood vessel that protruded from the heart towards the back of the chest. This proves that the heart is not like the reptile hearts that past scientists had claimed them to be like.
In fact, it is just another notch on the belt that shows what many dinosaur experts have been claiming for years. The dinosaur is part of the lineage of the birds that still fly around on the earth today. The dinosaur is no longer a cold-blooded reptile but a warm-bodied animal.
Is There Really a Dinosaur With 8 Hearts
Scientists that recently posted their thoughts in the British medical journal, The Lancet, stated that the 45-foot-tall Barosaurus had to have up to eight hearts to be able to pump the blood up to their brains. They claim that there is no other possibility because of the length of the neck.
- Scientists from Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York believe that the dinosaur had a primary heart in the thorax, a second heart near the base of the neck, and three more spaced at intervals up the long neck.
- The people at National Geographic are not sure that this is founded in truth because there is absolutely no evidence to support the fact. But the arguments continue to stream in stating that if the Barosarous only had one heart, it would have to be enormous and uber efficient.
- On the other hand, you have evidence presented by the Smithsonian people that the long-necked dinosaurs had springy vertebrae that would cushion the head and neck as the enormous creatures walked around foraging for food.
As the cervical bones flexed, they would compress down towards the neck. This would push down on the neck muscles, causing air sacs to compress the vertebral artery. It is shown that this compression would act as a pump for the blood, replacing the need for any extra hearts.
How Many Hearts Do Dinosaurs Have
After going through all the evidence from the past and comparing them to the innovative finds of today, it can safely be stated that dinosaurs only had one heart. A heart that is not cold-blooded as scientists have believed for centuries.
The heart of the dinosaur is warm-blooded and so similar to the heart of a bird that it goes to show that the theory of dinosaurs and birds being related is closer to the truth than dinosaurs being related to lizards.
The hardest part of this theory to grasp is the looks that dinosaurs have been given by scientists. The pictures and drawings you can find all over the internet will show that they looked like reptiles in every way, except on a larger scale.
But the heart that was found so beautifully preserved shows a different tale. A discovery that has changed the way people look at the dinosaur. Science is still divided on the issue, but as more proof emerges, it will become apparent that the dinosaur is not a cold-blooded lizard.
New findings also show that the dinosaur had ways to work around their enormous sizes when it came to blood circulation. Their bodies were designed to work with one heart. The bones, muscles, tendons, and organs all worked to ensure enough blood was pumped to every body part.
Until more tests can be run and new specimens are found, the debate will continue to rage on between scientists and dinosaur hunters. The fact that further information is coming out that contains proof to overturn old-school thinking is hard for many to grasp.
It all boils down to how you want to perceive the issue. The proof is in the pudding, as people say. Unfortunately, even though there have been some new findings over the last decade, there is still not enough to tell if all dinosaurs had one heart or if some had more.
Hi, I am Roy Ford a General Studies and English Teacher who has taught all over the world. What started as a fossil collection became a great way to teach, motivate and inspire students of all ages and all over the world about dinosaurs and from that and children’s love of dinosaurs came the site dinosaur facts for kids, a resource for all ages.