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Re: "Fighting specimen" GI 100/25
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:
> Dave Unwin can speak to the specifics. Post-mortem association was
> suggested by some of the Polish and Mongolian workers, but the Unwin et al.
> study refutes most of the earlier conclusions.
> There are plenty of other fossils in the Djadochta Formation and equivalents
> which demonstrate VERY rapid burial (e.g., Protoceratops specimens caught in
> mid-struggle while digging their way up out of sand). Only in unusual
> settings can you get behavioral preservation like this, but the sands of the
> Djadochta seem to have been pretty nasty at times. Similar burials are
> known to occur in sandy deserts today.
> Spectacular preservation DOES happen (i.e., limulids at the end of a "death
> march" trail in the Solnhofen; entombed rhinoceratoids preserved vertically
> in ash layers, etc.), but, as you note, it is VERY rare.
Does it strike anyone as a little strange that, even if these two animals were
suddenly covered in sand, that they would be suddenly frozen in that position
or would continue fighting each other for their last moments? Surely the last
thought of both of them was getting out of the sand. I would tend to think
that that foot found its way to its final resting place not as an act of
aggression but simply trying to find a foothold to get itself to air and
escape. This of course means that any discussion of fighting tactics based on
the burial positions is somewhat meaningless, isn't it? Surely someone else
has thought of this so what am I missing?