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You are here: Home Individual Projects Third Funding Period (2010-2012) Project T2: Thermal Measuring and Modeling

Project T2: Thermal Measuring and Modeling

Title Heat flow models for sauropods and their validation by thermography and heat flow modeling in elephants
Principal Investigator Dr. Hans-Christian Gunga, Dr. Martin Weiser, Dr. Alexander Stahn


There is an on-going lively debate on the kind of metabolism and possible thermal strains in dinosaurs, especially in large sauropods. To gain comprehensive and innovative insights into the thermoregulation and overall thermal constraints of these large, extinct organisms, we intend to employ a systems biology approach by linking empirical research with biophysical knowledge and computer modelling. To reach this goal, (1) state-of-the-art technology (telemetry, telemetry sensors, heat flux sensors, infra-red camera, 3D laser scanner) as well as advanced mathematical software will be used to describe, quantify, and analyze the thermophysiology of the largest terrestrial organism living today; i.e., the elephant, which can reach a body mass comparable to a small/medium sized sauropod. (2) Based on these results sophisticated mathematical models will be developed, (3) which will be implemented into already existing 3D body mass models of prosauropods and sauropods, to finally (4) improve the qualitative and quantitative understanding of the thermoregulative dynamics of these extinct species by simulating their thermoregulative processes under various environmental conditions and different levels of activity-related thermogenesis.

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