Life-size Polyresin Model
Scipionyx (pronounced sip-ee-ON-iks) was a Cretaceous period theropod (from about 113 million years ago), perhaps a maniraptor. It is known from a single, extremely detailed specimen of a hatchling that includes fossilized soft tissues, including muscles and internal organs. It was 9.5 inches (24 cm) long and had a very large head. John A. Ruben, a vertebrate paleobiologist from Oregon State University, used an 80-watt ultraviolet (UV) lamp to help reveal outlines of Scipionyx's fossilized internal organs. Ruben found that the position of Scipionyx's colon (intestines) and liver were similar to that of modern crocodilians (which are cold-blooded), and unlike that of birds (which are warm-blooded). The position of the liver also gives information about the lungs, since a muscle that runs by the liver helps the lungs to expand and contract in crocodilians. Scipionyx probably had reptilian-style lungs (and not highly efficient bird lungs). Although Ruben's work is not absolutely conclusive, it looks like the small theropod Scipionyx may have been cold-blooded.
13.8 in. Long x 10.2 in. High
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