PHOTOS: Meat-Eating Dino had Birdlike Breathing System

PHOTOS: Meat-Eating Dino had Birdlike Breathing System
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September 29, 2008--This newly found South American dinosaur may have had flesh-ripping teeth, but it had the lungs of a bird, scientists announced Monday.

Found in Mendoza Province, Argentina, Aerosteon riocoloradensis lived 85 million years ago during the Cretaceous period.

The elephant-size dinosaur's breathing system may help scientists better understand the evolution of avian lungs and air sacs. In birds, bellows-like sacs pump air through the lungs.

The find offers the first evidence of air sacs in dinosaurs, said Paul Sereno, the project's lead researcher and a National Geographic explorer-in-residence.

(The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)
—Illustration by Todd Marshall, copyright 2008 National Geographic Society
 
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