In an article published in the July 13 edition of Nature, Patrick O'Connor, of Ohio University in Athens, and Leon Claessens, of Harvard University, compared the air sacs of a Madagascar theropod to over 200 species of extant birds. The results show that the dinosaur - the late Cretaceous Majungatholus atopus - had the similar hollow-boned structure with air sacs that modern birds exhibit today.
The study focused on features found in the post-cranial skeleton around the neck, chest and hips; these regions generally contain air sacs that surround the lungs. Their comparative analysis showed that the vertebral column was similar to modern birds, and that "neotheropods possessed the anatomical potential for flow-through ventilation of the pulmonary system."
Read the abstract of the Nature Letter.
Read the summary of the letter in Nature News.
Read the popular article at Discovery.com.