Dinosaurs fed 'milk-like' secretions to young: Study

Syndey, Feb 11 (IANS) Dinosaurs secreted a milk-like, nutrient-rich substance to feed their young, which helped them grow at phenomenal rates, suggests a new study.

Paul Else, professor of physiology from the University of Wollongong, said dinosaur lactation, if it did in fact exist, would have involved secretions from the upper digestive tract that produce a "milk-like" substance.

"Pigeons, emperor penguins and flamingoes all produce milk-like substances from crop glands or glands of the oesophagus that they feed to their young through their mouths," says Else, who devoted 15 years to this research.

"Since birds and dinosaurs share much in common, I proposed that some dinosaurs likely used this feeding strategy," Else adds, the journal of Experimental Biology reports.

He argues that the greatest potential advantage of dinosaur lactation is that the milk fed to the young can be "spiked" with additives such as antibodies, antioxidants and growth hormone, according to a Wollongong statement.

"These are all examples of additives found in the milk of pigeons that allow their young to grow at phenomenal rates," Else says, adding that his theory could help explain how dinosaurs grew so quickly.