British researchers are now hypothesizing that due to their plant-based diets, dinosaurs' flatulence may have produced enough methane gas to warm the earth during the Mesozoic era, from about 245 million years ago to about 65 million years ago.
The long-necked, gigantic dinosaurs, averaging a weight of 44,000 pounds and referred to as "prehistoric cows" allegedly disposed of 520 million tons of methane emissions per year, according to scientists' educated guesses.
"A simple mathematical model suggests that the microbes living in sauropod dinosaurs may have produced enough methane to have an important effect on the Mesozoic climate," researcher Dave Wilkinson of Liverpool John Moores University said in a statement, as reported by MSN.
"Indeed, our calculations suggest that these dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sources – both natural and man-made – put together," Wilkinson said.
Sauropods' heavy diet of large leaves helped contribute to their high methane emissions, as methane-producing microbes in the stomach had more agility at breaking down fermented plant matter than meat.
Wilkinson joined forces with Graeme Ruxton of the University of St. Andrews and Euan Nisbet at the University of London to research methane's effect on the earth's temperature. They published their findings in the journal Current Biology on Monday.
Methane is a greenhouse gas which is 23 times more likely to trap gas in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
According to The Wall Street Journal, "The new scientific work highlights the importance of wildlife, livestock, and other natural sources of greenhouse-gas emissions in shaping global climate."
Today, cattle belching and flatulence contributes 20 percent of methane emissions, according to the the WSJ.
Christians often debate the existence of dinosaurs and the time during which they are believed to have roamed the earth.
According to Ken Ham, President and CEO of Answers in Genesis, a creationist group that believes in a literal translation of the Bible, dinosaurs did exist and were created by God.
"As you add up all of the dates, and accepting that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to Earth almost 2,000 years ago, we come to the conclusion that the creation of the Earth and animals (including the dinosaurs) occurred only thousands of years ago (perhaps only 6,000!), not millions of years," Ham wrote on the Answers in Genesis website.
Ham also argues that dinosaurs were created on the sixth day of God's creation, when the Bible says He created all animals.
"The Bible tells us that God created all of the land animals on the sixth day of creation. As dinosaurs were land animals, they must have been made on this day, alongside Adam and Eve, who were also created on Day Six (Genesis 1:24–31)," Ham added.
"Evolutionists declare that no man ever lived alongside dinosaurs. The Bible, however, makes it plain that dinosaurs and people must have lived together," he added.