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In the Mesozoic era, about 250 to 65 million years ago a large number of reptiles populated the oceans. The most successful were the plesiosaurs, which existed for about the same time as the dinosaurs. Enlarged red blood cells ensured their survival. This was discovered by paleontologists at Bonn University and zoologist Kai R. Caspar from Duisburg-Essen University (UDE). The results can be read in the international bioscientific online journal PeerJ.
Why did the size of the red blood cells increase? The scientists explain this with the environment of the marine animals. "Obviously, the plesiosaur firstly developed in the open sea after their ancestors had migrated from the shallow coastal waters to the high seas. The processes in their bodies adapted accordingly," says Kai Caspar. The enlarged red blood...
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