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AC Hidung Dinosaurus Atasi ‘Overheating’

Saluran udara melalui hidung dinosaurus Panoplosaurus dan Euoplocephalus– dua spesies ankylosaurus—mendinginkan otak dengan aliran konstan darah dingin melalui vena; sehingga kepala dinosaurus tetap dingin dan jaringan syaraf halus otak dinosaurus tidak rusak akibat panas inti-tubuh. Begitu hasil riset tim ahli pada Ohio University dan New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine pada Arkansas State University di Amerika Serikat yang dirilis oleh PLOS ONE edisi Desember tahun 2018.

Darah panas inti tubuh dinosaurus bergerak melalui pembuluh darah vena dan memindahkan panasnya ke udara respirasi; secara simultan, evaporasi lengas pada hidung mendinginkan darah vena ke otak. “When we reconstructed the blood vessels, based on bony grooves and canals, we found a rich blood supply running right next to these convoluted nasal passages. Hot blood from the body core would travel through these blood vessels and transfer their heat to the incoming air. Simultaneously, evaporation of moisture in the long nasal passages cooled the venous blood destined for the brain,” papar Ruger Porter dari Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, co-author studi ini (Ohio University, 19/12/2018).

Hidung dino menjadi AC. “The large bodies of many dinosaurs must have gotten very hot in warm Mesozoic climates, and we'd expect their brains to adapt poorly to these conditions. With that in mind, we wanted to see if there were ways to protect the brain from 'cooking.' It turns out the nose may be the key, and likely housed a 'built-in air conditioner,” papar Jason Bourke, Ph.D, ketua tim riset (New York Institute of Technology, 19/12/2018).

Tim ahli itu menggunakan pemindaian Computed Tomography (CT) dan model computational fluid dynamics. “This project is an excellent example of how advances in CT scanning, 3-D reconstruction, imaging, and computational fluid dynamics modeling can be used in biological research to test long-standing hypotheses. From these new images and models, fossils can provide further insight into extinct organisms like the ankylosaur - in this case, offering an explanation of how unusual features actually function physiologically,”papar Kathy Dickson, manajer program pada National Science Foundation (NSF), penyandang dana riset ini.***

Oleh: Servas Pandur