Ready, Set, Explore

In recent years, John Eiler has partnered with colleagues in disparate scientific fields to make discoveries in paleontology, archaeobiology, atmospheric chemistry, climatology, martian geology, and more. Along the way, he has helped develop and refine instruments that reveal previously hidden facets of chemistry, and opened up new areas for scientific exploration.

“My inclination is to be constantly in motion and working in a segment of the scientific community where I can create something that really feels new to me,” Eiler says.

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Taking Dinosaur Temperatures with Eggshells (+)

Caltech geochemist John Eiler has a knack for finding novel scientific niches to investigate, as we reported in our Fall 2015 article “Ready, Set, Explore.”

Now, he and Rob Eagle, a former Caltech postdoctoral scholar now at UCLA, have measured the body temperatures of a wide range of dinosaurs, providing insight into how the animals may have regulated their internal heat.

In the October 13, 2015, issue of the journal Nature Communications, the pair described how they used the analysis of isotopic ratios to reveal the way in which sauropods—a group that includes some of the biggest dinosaurs ever to live—performed the basic task of balancing their energy intake and output.

Read on to learn more about how they examined dinosaurs’ metabolisms and uncovered one of the dinosaurs’ biggest secrets.

Featured image: A large clutch of titanosaur eggs that has been cleaned for research.
Credit: Luis Chiappe, LA County Natural History Museum