Suspicions confirmed - Phlox News draws its own conclusions about dinosaur greenhouse gas production

The Phactor is quite impressed by university faculty who have time to read papers this time of year, and he is grateful when a colleague actually reads the original paper about dinosaur greenhouse gas production and the climate and reports what it really says.  Suspicions confirmed, the paper's authors never said a thing about extinction.  Phlox News drew that conclusion because they liked where that idea leads.   If you rely on Phlox News for your information, you get exactly what you deserve, a regular hosing.  But be assured this will turn up in the climate change "controversy" to suggest our extant methane producing herbivores are all to blame, so what are corporations and people to do?  

4 comments:

Elizabeth Sibert said...

So I'm a paleobiology/oceanography phd student and I read your blog because I know basically nothing about plants and love learning new things. I too, actually went to the full paper and read it - then had a great conversation with my adviser about it... between the two of us, we could discredit most of the assumptions that were made in the calculations (they make an assumption that wherever there is vegetation, there are sauropods to eat it, among other things). But despite the fact that all their calculations are super hand-wavy, we couldn't discredit the proposal that sauropods produced methane that may have contributed to the hothouse climate of the mesozoic.

And now I can say I had an academic conversation about dinosaur farts. So thank you for that. :)

The Phytophactor said...

You are welcome! Glad to help round out your edumacation.
When all the assumptions are so loose, and they almost had to be, any final conclusions are quite suspect, and that was the basis for my skepticism. Carole Gee, a colleague of mine, has figured out the food value of ancient forage based upon living relatives, so not all plants provide the same nutritional value to sauropods. Did her study get cited? That will be some measure of their scholarship.

Elizabeth Sibert said...

They do site a paper on which she is a coauthor - this one...

The methane paper is only 2 pages, really only ~4.5 columns of text (and there's a figure too, which is pretty bad) - if you have a few minutes (it took me about 10 minutes to get through it), I highly recommend it, if just for the laughs.

Elizabeth Sibert said...

Silly me - the paper is available here. Enjoy!