I was thinking about how they say those sails on top of some dinosaurs helped regulate their body temperature. If a dinosaur didn't have that sail, would it really make any difference?

If you heated up two towels (large ones) to 50 degrees Celsius, and spread one out, and shaped the other one into a ball, which one would cool faster?

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    $\begingroup$ It is worth noting that "heat management" was/is just a guess about what those things were for, and I vaguely recall reading an article few years ago that claimed to refute that explanation. $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2010 at 3:53
  • $\begingroup$ Not if it's in an oven. $\endgroup$
    – endolith
    May 23, 2011 at 23:11

1 Answer 1


Heat loss is largely proportional to surface area, so your spreadout towel more more efficiently cool.

About those dinosaurs. It is know that elephants large ears do get used for cooling. With a good blood supply those sails certainly could have dissipated at lot of heat. That doesn't prove that that was their primary purpose however.

  • $\begingroup$ Nevermind, I just realized how dumb the question I asked was. :) $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2010 at 5:41

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