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It’s estimated cows emit almost one hundred million tons of methane a year. Since dinosaurs ate way more food, it only stands to reason they farted more, producing more methane gas, which in turn, altered Earth’s climate. That’s the basic idea behind a new European study getting attention for both its weirdness and believability.
Researchers from John Moore’s University in Liverpool, as well as those at the University of London and the University of Glasgow have spent the past few years estimating dinosaur populations and using biomass calculators for cattle to figure out how much more total methane dinosaurs may have released while they ran the Earth. The results are alarming. According to BBC, their findings predict the creatures would have expelled approximately five hundred and twenty million tons of Methane a year, which is more than all natural sources combine to emit today. We collectively tend to worry about CO2 emissions, but methane traps more than twenty times the heat in the atmosphere.
Taking into account other non-dinosaur sources during the Mesozoic Era, the total methane reaching the atmosphere could have been overwhelming, raising the Earth’s temperature and potentially being a major cause in why we, not dinosaurs, run shit now.
It’s funny to think about classless Philistine dinosaurs stinking up the Earth and destroying themselves in the process, but like other fringe theories including overeager caterpillars eating the Earth’s vegetation, it’s more likely farting played a role in the dinosaur extinction but wasn’t necessarily the main culprit. A lot of people smarter than I tend to prefer the asteroid hitting the Gulf of Mexico hypothesis. For the time being, I’ll keep most of my eggs in that basket. We’ll see how well this methane argument holds up to the scientific scrutiny it will no doubt face in the coming years.